Dark mystical drone folk.
Plum Green has always had a dark alt-folk vibe but her new album ‘Somnambulistic’ takes her towards a droning sadness. It’s mystical, meandering and witchy. The Australian singer-songwriter knows how to hold a space for her style. It’s just a shame that once she ensnares you, the album feels largely similar across its run time.
Some of this similarity is down to song and sound design. Plum Green takes droning guitars and lets them slowly lap at you like waves from the ocean. This gives her music a cathartic release feeling as gently plucked chords from other instruments hide behind the sea of sound. This works well for tracks like ‘White Kitten’ where there is an electric edge to the piece. It’s harsh and malevolent. Elsewhere mumbling choruses of vocals give a gypsy sway to ‘Belleza Nocturna’ and there’s a Celtic edge to the brighter ‘Here We Go’. It helps distinguish tracks from one another as the mood of dense, foggy otherworldliness suffocates your mind of bright thoughts.
There are two minor stylistic issues I have with the album though. The first is around the fact that all the songs seem to run at the same tempo and pace. The second is that Plum Green has taken to an atonal, weary and tired vocal delivery. In some instances, this fits the mood perfectly. Other times it sounds a little too detuned for its own good. All music is personal taste and I usually enjoy an offkey moment when it is harbouring emotions and feelings to make it felt more acutely for the listener. I think my issue here is that some of this feels a little overblown in the wrong areas.
Despite these niggles, ‘Somanmbulistic’ is a dark journey into an ethereal dark folk world that has some great moments. Plum Green is able to create a dense atmosphere from her guitars, synths and drone sounds that feels dangerous and inviting at the same time. I just hope next time it has a little more variation to the madness.
Recommended track: White Kitten
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