I first saw Montreal's Plants and Animals at the Iceland Airwaves Festival last fall and had my proverbial socks thoroughly knocked off. Since then their full length debut has been released, and it is every bit as good as I hoped it would be. Critics seem to have a tough time putting a label on them, and that's largely because their songs are so diverse. Such diversity tends to be frowned upon by industry types because its tough to market, but in this case it is a massive, glowing positive. The band might stir up cathartic emotion with Arcade Fire-ish choruses at one moment, and the next could be nailing a percussive African guitar riff, but the common thread is that they never forget to revolve their musings around strong melodies and well constructed songs. From time to time you will see the "jam band" tag added to the description, which couldn't be further from reality. The band, all music school grads, knows their way around their instruments and certainly doesn't mind letting you know that, but it never veers into self-indulgence.
Their live show is one of the more unique and well-executed offerings I've seen, and I strongly recommend anyone with a couple spare hours Thursday night drop by Schubas and check it out. Meanwhile, take a listen to "Bye Bye Bye" the opening track off of Parc Avenue, which was released in the US last week on Secret City Records.