Rewriting the ending

Plants and Animals bring The End of That to the West End Cultural Centre

Indie rock band Plants and Animals. “We lived in rundown apartments so we didn’t need nine to five jobs to pay the rent,” singer-guitarist Warren Spicer says of the band’s formative years in Montreal. “We could focus on making the music we wanted.” Supplied

Montreal’s indie rock band Plants and Animals is currently on tour promoting its latest album, the just-released The End Of That.

“The new album is great; it was a bit tricky to make because of the certain things you have to go through, but all and all we are really proud of what we accomplished,” says singer and guitarist Warren Spicer over the phone from a tour stop in Seattle.

The three-piece, which also includes drummer Matthew Woodley and multi-instrumentalist Nicolas Basque, has been on tour the last month playing at the feverish pace of a show a night.

“It’s been kind of insane, but everything has been going smoothly - most shows have been sold out, the fans have been really great (and) crowds have been really big,” Spicer says.

The band’s first LP (after two EPs) Parc Avenue received industry acclaim, was shortlisted for the 2008 Polaris Music Prize and snagged Juno nominations in the Alternative Album and New Group categories in 2009.

“That recognition within the industry helps,” Spicer says. “Getting those nods has opened us up to new avenues,” Spicer says.

Critics are saying that with The End of That, this is the year for Plants and Animals. This album is more personal than 2010’s La La Land, which saw Spicer writing in “character,” so it’s a welcome accolade.

The grounded Spicer says it has not always been smooth sailing.

“Sometimes it’s easy to get disillusioned with success because of other bands’ successes or where you want to be, so you can lose focus of why you got into the music in the first place - sometimes focusing more on ticket and record sales.

“But that ends up happening to the band when you make it in your career - but at the same time you have to keep focused on what is important.”

This tour has the taken the band all over the U.S. and Canada so far, including a stop in their hometown of Montreal, Que. Although Spicer and Woodley originally hail from Halifax, N.S., the group was warmly welcomed in the Quebec scene.

“Montreal has been a hot place the last 10 years musically (with) a lot of great bands and great venues to play out of. It has given us a home, supported us to make it happen,” he says. “We lived in rundown apartments so we didn’t need nine to five jobs to pay the rent. We could focus on making the music we wanted, practice and hang out with other musicians. All these things contribute, and even now it’s the same thing - it’s a great family environment for musicians.”

If you’ve seen the band before and are nervous about catching the same show as last time - do not fear. Not only are there the new tunes, but drastically different arrangements on old favourites, thanks to a Wurlitzer piano and a guest or two.

“All of the arrangements have been tweaked a little differently, so if you have seen us before in Winnipeg it will be a little different,” Spicer says. “We are really excited with what we are doing and this tour has given us some of the best shows we have ever done, so there is really a big hype going on.”

Published in Volume 66, Number 25 of The Uniter (March 28, 2012)

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