Plum Green – Rushes (Independent) CD REVIEW

I’VE GOT TO hand it to her: for someone stuck in the margins of indie music making, Plum Green certainly markets herself like a pro: her CD turned up with the inevitable PR puff piece and a glossy booklet containing a rather fetching picture of Plum Green’s derriere (wearing designer undies featuring her logo, of course) together with effusive endorsements from local music media.
Apparently, NZ Musician thinks she’s a truly gifted singer and songwriter, “stunning in both simplicity and power”, and then on the back cover, there’s another fetchingly gothic pic of Plum Green in her bra, looking like a corpse bride from a Tim Burton movie.
Which all rather obfuscates the matter of her debut album, the cover of which features yet more flesh: Plum Green’s bare back, on which is drawn her spine and ribs. Okay, I get it, she’s not scared to present her body as a statement of self; sexuality with the scent of darkness and a twisted knife.
It’s clear that Plum Green likes being provocative, and this is central to her music as well, although you never know whether she’s being personal, or playing a role, in songs like ‘Harpy’, with lines like “I am judged on the shape of my breasts”, but where she names herself as Medusa.
Her songs are full of snakes and darkness and rain and emptiness and terror and paranoia, and they could be rather good, but they’re not quite there yet.
The problem? She mostly vacillates between dark, gothic folk and dark, predictable grunge, and it’s only when she ditches both, along with her self-conscious vocal affectations, that she sounds convincing.
That happens on ‘Comb Me Out’, a folk-based piece with a cello, in which she sings really well. This happens a few other times on Rushes, on ‘Wait Here’, for instance. It’s in stark contrast to songs like ‘Once Again’: in grunge mode, she becomes awkward, leaden, responding to the doom with vocal phrasing and timing that isn’t quite right, and sounds suspiciously demo-like.
More energy and focus on the music, please, and forget about the glossy photo shoots. Yes, you are pretty. But more importantly, there’s talent here, which right now is submerged in a fetid swamp. GARY STEEL
Music = 3/5
Sound = 3/5

5 Comments

  1. Plum has a great voice when she will let it go… The darkly gothic stuff could be great, but she’s neither (in my opinion) dark or gothic enough. She’s too sensitive, and too aware of herself, although certainly not in a narcissistic way.

    Nice lass, good music. And if she can keep it up, she could easily be very good indeed.

  2. Is this the picture of the derrière you were talking about? That is Misanthropy, she is a dancer. Plum is the one next to her, singing https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150233109429719&set=pb.43163109718.-2207520000.1354861325&type=3&theater

  3. Um, yep, NZ Musician magazine did say that. Google it.
    I think YOU should focus on her music and forget about the photos.

  4. I would guess that you’ve not seen her play live or you’d agree with the NZ musician comment.

    The problem as you put it, certainly isn’t a problem for most and definitely not for anyone who’s seen her play.

  5. There’s nothing quite like being late to reply!
    I would love to see Plum play live again, but she’s moved to Oz with no plans to return in the foreseeable future.

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