BAND OF THE WEEK: PLANT TRIBE

15 Oct

Does anybody really know what time it is? According to the title of Plant Tribe’s debut album (available soon from Space Chant Records), it’s “Late Noon” and their asteroid-eating approach sounds better on “Late” than ever.

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Despite what the title might tell us, the Plant Tribe on “Late Noon” sounds timeless, if somewhat territorially tied to that universal notion of “party-time.” “Late Noon” is fueled by gris-gris grooves from the get, likely to elicit a smile long before a sneer. It’s the sound of revved-up rhythms, drums and bass as fun and fluid as a well-warmed lava lamp; of expertly executed fuzz-and-wah attacks, guitars channel-separated at birth for a life of maximum-altitude headphone adventures; of vocals that woo and wail, prominently presented in the mix, where so many bands sound somewhat dead-eyed and content to be buried. Not Plant Tribe – the sound here is fully alive, growing and glowing, stems and seeds unable to interrupt one green hit after another.

What colors grace the flowers of the Plant Tribe vine? Think Blue Cheer, Deep Purple and black-light posters with frayed-corners that stretch out toward infinity. It’s an intergalactic party – who could ask for more? On “Late Noon,” we find Plant Tribe sounding most heroic on star-stained sonic blasters like “Eternal Villainy” and “Past Life,” while the ten-minute plus “Mice” is a lions-roar seen through a lysergic lens. On the coda to “Fish Bowl Blues,” Plant Tribe goes swimming with a “Fun House” saxophone, and requests the listener to “take another sip of your cosmic cocktail.” At that point, only the most stubborn bores could fail to raise their glass.

Where the Plant Tribe grows, nobody knows, except that its roots are deeply and unmistakably Californian. But while Plant Tribe may have sprouted up in their Long Beach locale, they seem to have caught their blaze in the northern sky, their sound echoing with fiery flashbacks from the Owsley-assisted pioneers of the Bay Area, those found at the Red Dog Saloon, the Carousel Ballroom, and the Fillmore, resulting in an endearing and enduring celebration of electric music for the mind and body.

But Plant Tribe is no nostalgia act. While past lives are on display throughout “Late Noon,” it’s a crime to mistake Plant Tribe’s photosynthesis for photo-realistic recreation. They’re out there having fun, in the warm California sun, right here and right now. We find here the sound of California post-Powell Peralta, post-Fu Manchu, post-heads with dispensary cards getting legally lifted in ways that would make the previous generations brightest tie-dye, die.

The Plant Tribe clock ticks out timeless tunes, universals odes to not getting hassled. If you’re stuck in the astro-muck, you’re in luck because you’ll find “Late Noon” is right on time. Let’s party.

“Late Noon” is available for pre-order now at Space Chant Records.

“In essence, keep your mind relaxed at all times and accept the manifold experiences of life. Look at all situations with a sense of cheer and humor and, just as we may watch a comedy on the television to relieve tension, we should laugh at ourselves and have no tension.”

Geshe Namgyal Wangchen

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