It looks promising on paper: the band pitch this single offering as focusing on ‘the idea of the cold human race and an increasingly insular society’ and say: ‘It’s about struggling to look after yourself as much as it is struggling to look after your houseplants. Really just a message of looking after and understanding each other a bit better, and a critique of how modern living at times can make this an unattractive and hard to achieve concept.’
Having witnessed a complete absence of community spirit in favour of isolation and self-interest as people climb over one another and fight over beans and bog roll, it seems the ‘idea’ is the reality.
I’m also drawn by the write-up which refers to it as ‘a bittersweet yet discordant offering, where the addictive and wistful vocals of Amber Warren blend with the jangle of Arthur Boyd’s carefree cartwheeling guitars’ with ‘an interlude section inspired by William S. Burroughs “Naked Lunch”’.
Burroughs’ influence on music has long been something of a personal fascination of mine, although beyond notable experimental acts like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, it’s rare to find recordings that really evidence that influence beyond namechecking.
This is true, to a greater or lesser extent, with ‘All My Plants are Dead’, where the mid-section does go off on a bit of a tangent with some scratchy spoken word and extraneous noise that alters the mood and trajectory of the song, but doesn’t quite convey the inspiration of the dystopian carnival of Burroughs’ seminal novel.
It’s hardly a problem, though: ‘All My Plants Are Dead’ has an easygoing melody led by a nice J Mascis style lead guitar line that crackles over a melancholy chorus-drenched rhythm guitar, and with a wistful, dreamy tone to its chorus, and I’m reminded a little of Slowdive, only with a more up-front and overtly alt-rock / indie approach. The bottom line is that it’s an ace tune and works well as a single.