Austin Plaine – “S/T”
This is the debut album from Austin Plaine, who is a young singer songwriter hailing from Minneapolis/Nashville. He has a style which is based on sharing his feelings and emotions through his songs. It therefore, comes as no surprise that he has been inspired by artists such as Bob Dylan, Bright Eyes, Elliot Smith and Ryan Adams.
Austin Plaine could, therefore, easily fit into the well-trodden path of the ‘woe is me’ singer/songwriter. However, like the excellent Micah Schnabel, there is a greater sense of warmth to his music. Opener, “Never Come Back Again” has an endearing quality, with its laid back approach and hint of Americana. Likewise, whilst “Hard Days” may be a tale of woe, the music maintains a more positive and inspiring mood.
There are, however, plenty of emotive and pensive songs on this release. Tracks like “Other Side Of Town” and “Only Human”, have a more melancholic sound. They’re the sort of songs which will be hugely appealing to fans of the go to reference in folk/Americana…Ryan Adams. This album, will also inevitably draw the usual Springsteen references, given the ‘everyday man’ nature of the lyrical content. To be fair, there are far worse people to be compared to than those two!
Being rockers at heart, we prefer the more upbeat numbers, such as “Houston”, which actually has an almost country rock feel about it. “The Cost” is a song which has a really peaceful and heartfelt vibe and you can imagine it becoming really haunting when sung in a live environment. Whilst “Wait” has a far fuller sound and, indeed, a more ‘modern’ production feel to it, which adds a nice bit of diversity to the album.
Indeed, the whole album builds up to a real peak. “The Hell If I Go Home” contrasts its angry title with some delightful harmonies with the female co-singer. Then “Beautiful” is another track with a bigger and fuller sound. It’s the track that you could really see being a ‘cross-over’ hit.
Our key recommendation for this album, is to make sure you give it some time. It would be easy to quickly, and wrongly, dismiss it as yet another young singer/songwriter. However, if you listen to it as a whole album, and not individual tracks, it is only then that you get a proper feel for the different shades and lights each of the songs offer. That may not be in keeping with the ‘shuffle generation’…… but hell, give it a go!!!