Album review: Still House Plants: “Fast Edit”

Above: the band, Still House Plants. Photo courtesy of Peter Gajewski.

In their monthly email blast to listeners, Jersey City-based freeform radio station WFMU referred to Still House Plants as “Intimate, deconstructed… punk meets R&B…” The description caught my eye and I figured I’d give it a shot. What greeted me wasn’t what I expected at all— it was so much better!

The off-kilter rhythms, the sparse, yet warm guitars, the haunting and distinctive vocals, and the fluctuations in fidelity add up to make one of the most interesting and compelling listens of the year. 

Glasgow, Scotland’s Still House Plants is made up of Finlay Clark, Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach and David Kennedy. They’ve been making music together since meeting at The Glasgow School of Art as sophomores. They sound like what might’ve happened in an alternate universe where The Shaggs had gone to art school and listened to nothing but midwest emo and no wave, like Suicide or Teenage Jesus & The Jerks. These are all loose comparisons, however, as Still House Plants really only sound like themselves, as far as I can tell.

There’s a uniform looseness throughout the album, with songs like the opener, “Pleasures,” existing as chaotic individual pieces rather than structured pop songs. It might sound naive at first listen. You may find yourself thinking, “These kids can’t play on beat! Surely, I could do that!” Maybe you can, but you’d have a hard time capturing the raw emotion present on songs like “September,” or the free jazz spirit captured on “Getting Murky.”

“Fast Edit” is a chaotic, potentially frustrating listen. If you take the time and patience required for a deeper listen, however, you’ll discover that there are multiple methods to the madness, and that this album stands as one of the most unique and rewarding projects of the year so far. 

You can stream songs from the album, buy it digitally or physically, and learn more about Still House Plants HERE.

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