REVIEW: Andrea Plamondon — Only Eden (LP)
Initially delicate in tone and shape, there isn’t a moment wasted in Andrea Plamondon’s mission to make a monolithic melody out of “Nella Fantasia” in the new album Songs for Forever, and despite her urgency, this complicated piece of music comes into focus all too seamlessly. The same story can be said for the other songs in the eleven-part tracklist of Songs for Forever, all of which seem to flirt with different eccentricities within the classical music lexicon so many players have grown too intimidated by to really experiment with. There’s something ancient about what Andrea Plamondon is offering here, and yet it feels as relevant as ever in this presentation.
There are a few different tracks in this LP that nod at the atmospheric trend I’ve been hearing more and more of in underground music over the past couple of years, but I would not say that Plamondon is going out of her way to make anything more surreal than it should be. There’s undisputedly a postmodern hue to the compositional wits of “Take It From Me,” “The Departed,” “No One,” and even “Pie Jesu,” but it’s not extended unto us with the same kind of self-righteousness I’ve been coming in contact with among the mainstream pop content out right now.
There’s a seductiveness to the performance of “Ave Maria” here that feels almost minimalist in stylization, but I would stop short of saying that Plamondon is supplying us a black and white rendition of the iconic composition. Although there’s not a doubt in my mind that she wanted to go out on a limb with this material, nothing is suggesting a desire to be different just for the sake of being an outsider; that kind of concept is beneath this singer and songwriter, and she isn’t afraid to assert as much with performances of “Falling Angels” and “Dreams” in the first half of the tracklist.
The biggest gamble tracks in this record are “Nella Fantasia,” “Dream,” “Dreams,” and “Only Eden,” but I think that they’re presented in such a way that it’s hard to resist the more elaborate wanderings of Plamondon through these songs. Songs for Forever is very much an LP that strives to live up to its title, no matter how insularly a path that might be, and I get the impression from its core construction that this is just a taste of what our singer can do when she’s got a big idea on her hands.
You can tell from the get-go that Andrea Plamondon is not playing games with Songs for Forever this July, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to sit down with this record — which includes no less than three tracks written beside the brilliant Connor Hutton — I recommend doing so before the year has come to a conclusion. This is a multi-part effort that illustrates the passion of its creator breathtakingly well, and I’m eager to find out how she’s going to grow from this template when she returns to the recording studio in the future.