The 1900s

Plume Delivery

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Plume Delivery, the 1900s' debut EP, is an intricately arranged, sweetly sung, and tenderly played gem of a record. The Chicago sextet lovingly coats their songs with the finest chamber pop accouterments (harpsichord, Rhodes, violin, organ, and most importantly, lush vocal harmonies) and comes up with a rich and organic sound reminiscent of arrangement pop heroes like the Heavy Blinkers, Ladybug Transistor, and the New Pornographers. As those bands do, the 1900s have many voices taking the lead, seemingly a different one on every song, each equally gentle and sweet. The songs here stack up well next to the competition: "Bring the Good Boys Home" is a bouncy rocker done in a fine approximation of the Vancouver pop sound, "Whole of the Law" is a lilting ballad with truly transcendent vocal harmonies and the kind of soaring chorus that might lift the spirits of even the most curmudgeon of listeners, and "Coming Age" is a fine pastoral ballad with a fine mid-'60s Kinks feel. The only track that fails to impress is the overly long and proggy "Patron Saint of the Mediocre," which doesn't fit in with the other tracks at all and suffers from too many keyboard solos and unusually forceful vocals. It breaks the spell the rest of the record casts and while it doesn't exactly spoil the proceedings, it does cast a long shadow. Still if you are a fan of the bands mentioned above or of well played and sung, insistently melodic indie pop, the arrival of the 1900s and this disc is cause for quiet satisfaction.

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