Rock Plaza Central – At The Moment Of Our Most Needing, Or If Only They Could Turn Around, They Would Know They Weren’t Alone
This is a straighforward, Americana-flavoured indie rock album. And it’s very good. There’s something of a Western aspect to the roll of the lyrics – almost like a desert album accidentally fallen into the hands of a city indie band. There is also some pretty lonesome fiddle screeching going on at times, squarely in Spaghetti Western territory, but whilst they flirt with this aesthetic, they never seem to quite give themselves over to it entirely.
Apparently their previous album, Are We Not Horses, was something of a smash hit amongst the discerning hipsters of the internet, but I’ve never heard it, myself. This means I don’t have that particular baggage to deal with when listening to the new stuff, which I suppose both liberates my reaction, and possibly skews it just a little too.
Accordion, tumpet and Morricone fiddle are as close as you’re going to get to musical catnip for someone like me, particularly when matched to a keening, slightly strained voice which is frequently full of anguish. It still sounds like a basic indie rock rhythm to me, for the most part, which is what prevents this being an album which I would pigeonhole as Americana.
It’s like a mosaic, in some ways, composed of shifting textures, some more abstract than others, from which on occasion emerge steady rhythmic directions, some infectiously catchy choruses and the odd flourish of instrumentation. For the most part this produces a wonderfully fluid record, with an intriguingly shifting emphasis, but on occasion they slightly miss. Sometimes the rhythm gets going, and you can almost hear something catchy trying to break through, but not quite doing so. At times like this I can find the record slightly less arresting than at others, but this is pretty rare in what is for the most part a consistent and excellent album.