After a delicate piano intro that’s reminiscent of the atmosphere of Gary Jules’ cover of Tears For Fears’ Mad World, it rapidly becomes clear that Plans is in no rush to go anywhere. And I, for one, am grateful.
There’s an implicit confidence in a piece of work that paints in such primary colours and utilizes space with as much reverence as any other instrument.
Fiona’s vocal is rich, channeling First Aid Kit and a little of the whimsy of Lana Del Ray – while retaining many unique colours and shapes; and sporting a tiny, classy delay.
Plans unfolds slowly, with elegiac patience, and Fiona’s vocal unfolds along with it, leaping up into falsetto effortlessly. Bass holds long patient notes as a raw and complex string arrangement saws through, while muted guitars and piano lay down beautiful accompaniment. Flowery and soulful backing vocals and stabbed vocal ‘ooh’s sneak in from Bacharach’s 1960s, and then a wonderfully atmospheric tremolo guitar adds ever more warmth.
The treated drum kit marks out an inevitable and melancholy traipse through a solemn lyrical exploration of a possibly dysfunctional liaison between two lost souls (at least that’s how I interpret it!).
‘Hold me / Hold me dear / Hold me / Hold me dear’ – that should be the blandest of bridge lyrics ever – but in these hands it delivers a spectral beauty you wouldn’t expect.
What a treat to review such a well-realised and tastefully-produced song. It’s accompanied by some memorable visuals in a promo video, but the plaintive quality of the melodies will stay with you even longer. Impressive, wide-screen, spacious, addictive.