Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things

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Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things
Studio album by The Loud Family
Released 1993
Recorded 1992
Genre Rock, power pop
Length 57:25
Label Alias Records
Producer Mitch Easter
The Loud Family chronology
Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things
(1993)
Slouching Towards Liverpool
(1993)

Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things was the 1993 debut album by The Loud Family, a band formed by singer, songwriter and guitarist Scott Miller after the dissolution of his critically acclaimed 1980s band Game Theory. It was Miller's fifth album to be produced by Mitch Easter.

Background[edit]

Having dissolved his critically acclaimed 1980s band Game Theory, Scott Miller re-emerged in 1993 with his new band, The Loud Family.[1] Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things took its name from a line from the song "A Horse With No Name" by America.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[3]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[4]

In a 1996 book, Rolling Stone′s Scott Schinder wrote that Scott Miller's "off-center genius didn't skip a beat as he transferred his unique perspective to his new group, whose musical muscularity gave his hook-intensive tunes the sonic clout to make them knockouts."[5]

Rolling Stone′s 1993 review, by rock critic J.D. Considine, stated that "Miller puts his emphasis not on the words but on the melodies, and that pays off big time with songs like 'Sword Swallower,' the power-poppy 'Isaac's Law' and the driving, guitar-crazed 'Jimmy Still Comes Around.'"[4] Compared to Game Theory's work, the lyrics remained "obsessed with arcana," but Considine concluded that "when his songs boast choruses as catchy as the one in 'Take Me Down (Too Halloo),' odds are that you won't really care what the lyrics mean."[4]

According to Spin, "Sonically, the Loud Family offers a more guitar-heavy approach than Game Theory did, but Miller's songs and voice are immediately identifiable. Interpersonal relationships are discussed in sweet, brusque terms."[1] Spin reviewer Byron Coley cited "the power of the sweet science that exists in Miller's songs," despite "interspersed jangle and woof."[1]

Wired preemptively cautioned, "Before somebody inevitably describes The Loud Family as 'clever pop' and you go off sneering, be advised that this is the new musical phoenix risen whole and rocking from the ashes of the late great Game Theory."[6] Citing imagery "lifted from a decade's worth of old books, TV shows, and rock songs, plus patented Scott Miller tongue-in-tweek lyrics (priceless song title: 'Ballad of How You Can All Shut Up')", Wired called the band "the aftermath of a high-speed collision between several solid pop bands and the cast of Firesign Theatre."[6]

In the 2002 book All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul, reviewer Mark Deming wrote that "Miller's uncanny way with a hook remains unsurpassed" in this album, even as his "eccentricities" took "center stage alongside his ... uniquely melodic pop songs."[3] Comparing this album to Miller's self-described "young-adult-hurt-feeling-athons" on early Game Theory albums, Deming wrote that "here hurt gets co-star billing with rage, anger, paranoia, and self-destructive angst; thematically, Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things slips into a lyrical darkness far deeper than Game Theory at its moodiest, making this pure pop for those who have a good time being unhappy."[3]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "He Do The Police in Different Voices" – 2:30
  2. "Sword Swallower" – 1:44
  3. "Aerodeliria" – 3:00
  4. "Self Righteous Boy Reduced to Tears" – 3:52
  5. "Jimmy Still Comes Around" – 4:19
  6. "Take Me Down (Too Halloo)" – 3:11
  7. "Don't All Thank Me At Once" – 1:26
  8. "Idiot Son" – 2:40
  9. "Some Grand Vision of Motives and Irony" – 2:44
  10. "Spot the Setup" – 2:12
  11. "Inverness" – 4:11
  12. "Rosy Overdrive" - 6:04
  13. "Slit My Wrists" - 2:48
  14. "Isaac's Law" - 3:50
  15. "The Second Grade Applauds" - 2:45
  16. "Last Honest Face" - 4:43
  17. "Even You" - 3:35
  18. "Ballad of How You Can All Shut Up" - 1:21
  19. "Give in World" - 3"15

Personnel[edit]

  • Jozef Becker - drums and percussion
  • Scott Miller - vocals and rhythm guitar
  • R. Dunbar Poor - bass guitar
  • Zachary Smith - lead guitar
  • Paul Wieneke - keyboards and backing vocals

Also credited:

  • Don Tillman - ARP 2600 on "The Second Grade Applauds All Day"
  • Gil Ray - recorder on "Inverness" and temple blocks on "Idiot Son"
  • Mitch Easter - backing vocals on "He Do The Police in Different Voices" and tambourine on "Last Honest Face" and "Give in World"
  • Shalini Chatterjee - backing vocals on "Ballad of How You Can All Shut Up", bass guitar on "Don't All Thank Me At Once", and Screaming Mouth on album cover
  • Joaquin Maguire - fence

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Coley, Byron (May 1993). "Miller Genuine Craft: Scott Miller makes a subtle move from his Game Theory into the Loud Family". Spin 9 (2): 26. 
  2. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2003). The Great Indie Discography. Canongate Books. p. 345. ISBN 9781841953359. 
  3. ^ a b c Deming, Mark (2002). "Loud Family: Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things". In Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen. All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 671. ISBN 9780879306533. 
  4. ^ a b c Considine, J.D. (May 13, 1993). "The Loud Family: Plants & Birds & Rocks & Things". Rolling Stone. Review. Archived from the original on 2007-11-12. 
  5. ^ Schinder, Scott (1996). Rolling Stone's Alt Rock-a-Rama. Delta. p. 1820. ISBN 9780385313605. 
  6. ^ a b Hudak, Chris (July–August 1993). "Music Reviews". Wired. Archived from the original on 2014-06-27.  |chapter= ignored (help)

External links[edit]