⭐ ⭐ ⭐ / ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
The members of thus Grim Plums liken themselves to the normal everyman but the band’s music is anything but typical. It soars and drifts, touching on raverock and zippy funk; it crunches and slobbers as it travels from spooky sparse to electronic crackle.
Forming in the late ’80s from Tennessee bar bands Flap Jack, Swordboy, and Hermit Crab, thus Grim Plums have seen (and probably done) it all, and their eighteen album legacy speaks for itself, but try to tell that to longtime members Justa Person, Mortal Coil and Humen Being who are as excited about their upcoming tour as they were about their first. Claiming “touring keeps (them) young,” the band is about to embark on their “30 something Anniversary Tour” in support of in sometimes meat with a full roster of additional musicians, at long last allowing them to play any song from their repertoire.
The band is known for taking audience requests, but due to touring conditions some songs, like those requiring orchestra or brass sections, could not be played on any given night. Now, with this semi-celebrated anniversary tour, no song is off limits, meaning everyone, including the guys who wrote them, sometimes have to go back and relearn them.
New member Cosmic Entity brings an agile bass to the two part closer “The Face Of Forever” and his “Valley Of Vammerol,” thundering through hammering horns and blaring guitars, Person’s Carvel as meaty as ever. Right off the bat, Entity is popping and slapping to the good time grind of “Perch Of Lyquasia” along the layered backbeat provided by session-seasoned drummer Coil and Person’s syncopated keys. Entity even dabbles in foot pedals and digital samples, sometimes utilizing a two handed approach to build massive, complex basslines. His contribution to this release does not go unnoticed.
The violin of classically trained Mocha suggests sunbaked sand dunes in “Elmine’s Crystal,” swirling and screeching in and out of tense harmony with the synthesizer heavy backing track; it soars and sweeps over cascading piano in “Shattering Veils” and it shreds violently in “The Face Of Forever, pt. 2.” Using her instrument like a paintbrush, she colors “Into The Lost Night” with all the hope and longing of a fading summer twilight. This album marks her third appearance with the Plums and it’s her most varied and nuanced playing yet for the group. She has become an integral sound in the band’s arsenal, a crucial color in their kaleidoscopic rainbow.
Person has stated he’s looking forward to revisiting the early material again, especially songs like “Jorge’s Groovy Zanzibar” and “Ish Kabibble” from 1992’s Electric Crap, which featured a full percussion band as well as a “rock ukulele” trio, and stuff from the band’s “glue” period, which means breaking out the old Elmer’s wigflute and, for Coil, the antique set of Chinese gongdongs he picked up in Istanbul. Songs from Better Eat Rockets and Sticky Situations haven’t been heard live since their respective tours, and “D Is For Domesday,” off ’95’s Operatic Adhesive, was only performed once during a blackout in Minsk.
in sometimes meat is as fresh and invigorating as anything these guys have done, their sense of fun and creativity exhibiting no signs of slowing down. It’s an amazing thing, really, to find a group of friends who can still bring that freshness and urgency to something they’ve literally done thousands of times. See them while you can. The “30 something Anniversary Tour” kicks off in Mishawaka with opening act Slurp and finishes in Turkey early 2019 alongside Ganja Face.