On his run of free, self-released EPs over the past year, Florida teenager Malcom Lacey (aka Arrange) seemed intent to prove that he could flourish in a variety of disparate musical settings. His most recent, the Quiet State EP from January, was a real hodgepodge of styles and genres. The Guided by Voices-like lo-fi indie rock of “I’m (Probably) A Shitty Person” bumped against ambient lullaby “Nothing Today” and the 7+ minute drone/noise freakout “Ivory Carpets”. What Quiet State missed on cohesiveness was made up for with giddy exploration. The songs showed a young musical talent playing with a bunch of new toys and hitting on a handful of really compelling moments.
Plantation is Lacey’s first attempt at a full length record, and it succeeds, at least partially, because of the way he reigns in his eclectic tendencies and delivers a focused set of piano-driven ambient/pop. There’s a sustained mood throughout the album that makes Plantation something you’ll want to hear from start to finish – from the sky-reaching ambience of “In Old Theatres” to the pulsing, windswept “Orange Glow (Thank You for the Night)”. The upgrade in sonic cohesion is matched by Lacey’s growing confidence as a singer and songwriter. Vocal melodies and lyrics play much more prominent roles here than on his earlier, more instrumentally-based efforts. Snippets like “light myself on fire/I don’t want to be desired” and “we were young/kept fighting our mouths ‘til we tore out our tongues” show Lacey knows how to make his muted teen-angst interesting. 2011 has been a noteworthy year thus far for the emergence of a batch of exciting young artists, and Arrange’s Plantation easily stands with the best debuts of the year.
Plantation is available for free download and in limited edition vinyl. Artwork by Jesse Treece.
MP3 :: Turnpike
MP3 :: Tear Up Old Asphalt
MP3 :: Blinds With You
(from Plantation. Download here)
Previously: Introducing: Arrange