Plumes — Oh Orwell (Sept. 14, 2019) Pamela MÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃéndez ÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃÃâ Time (22 Feb 2019)⇑⊗    Na chmurném albu Oh Orwell stoupají oblaky do nových výšin. Je zde tolik hudebních barev, že je neobsáhne ani kaleidoskop. Podívejte se, kam vás ty barvy dovedou.
Location: Montreal, Québec, Canada
Album release: September 14, 2019
Record Label: Independent 
Duration:     30:56
1. Seaweed   2:46 
2. Spawning Ground   3:10 
3. Love and Overlooking the Fire Hazard   3:31 
4. Winter Getaway   3:55 
5. Mother Sings Her   4:34 
6. Stray Dog de France   2:01 
7. Oh Orwell   3:57 
8. Golden Gourmande   3:12 
9. Look Me in the Eye   3:50
⇑⊗    Cover photo by Kohann Tensen
⇑⊗    „Eyes to the Sky“ artwork by Angel Marcano
⇑⊗    Design by Julie Cruikshank
⇑⊗    Songs by Veronica Charnley
⇑⊗    Arrangements by Geof Holbrook
⇑⊗    Produced by Saam Hashemi
Performed by:
⇑⊗    Veronica Charnley (vocals, electric guitar)
⇑⊗    Geof Holbrook (keyboards, bass, guitars, trumpet, French horn, trombone, alto saxophone)
⇑⊗    Eveline Grégoire~Rousseau (harp)
⇑⊗    Karl Jannuska (drums)
⇑⊗    Pemi Paull (viola)
⇑⊗    Nora Louise~Müller (clarinet, bass clarinet)
⇑⊗    Todd Harrop (percussion)
⇑⊗    Saam Hashemi (guitars, keyboards, programming)
⊗⇑    Recorded at Schloss Röhrsdorf in Dresden, Germany by Arno Jordan and at various home studios in Guelph and Toronto, Canada. „Golden Gourmande“ was recorded in Paris, France at La Place by Ludovic Palabaud.
⊗⇑    This recording was made possible with the generous support of the Krysko family & The Canada Council for the Arts. Special thanks to Michael Donley, Karl Jannuska and Arno Jordan and the community at Schloss Röhrsdorf for making the recording process truly magical!
by Michael Thomas. September 13, 2019
⊗⇑    Just as calling a feather a “plume” is a more beautiful way to describe it, so too Plumes’ orchestral music is more lush and colourful than you’d imagine if it were just called pop. Through nine songs, Oh Orwell runs the gamut from Snowblink~esque tenderness to funky synth~pop and back again. 
⊗⇑    There is a seven~year gap between Veronica Charnley et al.’s debut self~titled LP and Oh Orwell; since then Charnley and Geof Holbrook have parted ways, so this is a bittersweet project at a minimum. Charnley is the principal songwriter and Holbrook was the arranger, so future recordings will probably not sound like this, but Oh Orwell has them firing on all cylinders. Charnely is as confidant painting metaphors about love as she is writing from the perspectives of other people (and animals, as we’ll see). Holbrook’s multi~instrumental talents shine throughout, with him playing keyboards, three different horns and more.
⊗⇑    Not one song is similar to another; each new tune feels like you are pulling a new flavour from a bag of assorted jelly beans. “Golden Gourmande” is mint flavoured; the syllable “oh” in the song is sung with a group howl as Charnley gently sings about savouring a love that was almost lost. “Stray Dog de France” is one of those fancy Jelly Belly flavours with sweetness and a spicy aftertaste. The song jumps back and forth between slow/moody and quick/passionate unpredictably. “Love and Overlooking the Fire Hazard” is that one indescribably delicious flavour that you can only find a few times in the bag. It’s a fun, funky number about being happy in a relationship and living in a horrible piece~of~shit apartment.
⊗⇑    Charnley’s biggest strength as a songwriter is the imagery she conjures. “Spawning Ground” paints vivid pictures of what a salmon sees as it returns to its mating ground, accompanied by gorgeous harp. “Winter Getaway” meets a bush pilot who’s been through some bleak circumstances. The lullaby atmosphere of “Seaweed” makes for a doubly thrilling song; Charnley’s vocals soar to breathtakingly high~register notes as she compares love to seaweed: “You can’t push it away.”
⊗⇑    There are so many musical bursts of colour on Oh Orwell that not even a kaleidoscope could contain Plumes. See where the colours lead you.
By Scott A. Gray, Sep 17, 2019. Score: 8
⇑⊗⇑    Oh Orwell is the latest leg in the always~impressive musical journey of globetrotting Canadian songwriting treasure Veronica Charnley. Bittersweetly, it also marks her (potentially) final collaboration with long~time arranger and partner, Geof Holbrook; the creative duo separated during the making of this album, but whatever the discord, we’re left with a glorious parting gift of their commingled musical sensibilities.
⇑⊗⇑    Holbrook’s bold, sophisticated orchestral arrangements are still very much felt throughout the album, but Oh Orwell is the sound of a songwriter in metamorphosis — and that includes the production, which incorporates more modern synthetic flourishes alongside their trademark use of harp and baroque instrumentation, which is more sparingly deployed amidst the album’s lean nine songs, two of which are drastic (and fantastic) alt~pop re~imaginings from their prior release, Folk Songs and Future Loves.
⇑⊗⇑    The shift is a welcome evolution that puts increased emphasis on the sublime beauty of Charnley’s songwriting without sacrificing the studious idiosyncrasies that distinguish Plumes from their contemporaries. If the poppier sheen of “Mother Sings Her” gives you any doubt, “Stray Dog de France” drops immediately after, and it’s possibly the strangest song in the band’s catalogue — in a very good, and as always, very musical, way. The track sequencing is self~aware and fluid, cycling through a plethora of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic gold in a way that feels cohesive.
⇑⊗⇑    Not a second is wasted on these compositions; Charnley has never sounded more in control of her beautiful, highly expressive voice, or her keen skills as a songwriter and the arrangements support her brilliantly. Oh Orwell is one of the year’s best albums and a great example of sincere, introspective avant~pop at its finest.
⇑⊗    Montréal and Paris based group Plumes makes music described as “a glorious crossover of classical music grace and indie~pop catchiness” (Grayowl Point). Their debut self~titled album was hailed as a “a carefully constructed Baroque masterpiece, filled with orchestrated meditations on the peaks and valleys of love” (NYC Deli Mag) and their follow~up album, Folk Songs and Future Loves, interspersed original songs with Bartók and Luciano Berio folk songs.
⇑⊗    Plumes has toured across Canada, the U.S., Germany and France. They've appeared in festivals such as Sound of Bronkow, Evolve, Cluster New Music and Intergrated Arts Festival, Ritornello Chamber Music Festival, NXNE, and Hans Dampf Festival and have shared stages with artists such as Victoire, Mélissa Laveaux, White Wine and Il Tempo Gigante.
⇑⊗    With comparisons to Kate Bush, St.Vincent, Dirty Projectors and Schubert, the group continues to explore the blending of pop and classical styles with instrumentation that includes harp, viola, clarinets, drums, electric guitar and strings. Their third album,recorded in a castle near Dresden, Germany will be released in 2018.