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RISKY BUSINESS

The Plum Trees
The Plum Trees

Saying, ‘yes’ to a review before listening to the music can be risky business. I mean, The Plum Trees’ Shannon, seemed perfectly plausible, but I didn’t know she played the ukulele until after I’d agreed to listen to her music.

…the rate at which Shannon works her musical vehicle, The Plum Trees, it won’t stay hidden for long

GOD GAVE ME SOMETHING
Usually, when I hear ukulele, I want to run a mile. The instrument is this generation’s recorder, badly played by groups of school children, or recorded with such surprising virtuosity that you can’t help but marvel at just how good this silly piece of wood and plastic has been made to sound. But then, on every subsequent listen, you want to rip off your ears so you never again have to be reminded that music can be so appealing and yet so cloying at the same time.

When southwest singer-songwriter Shannon popped into my emails with all the bounce of a trampoline enthusiast and asked if I’d have a listen to her music, I said, “Sure why not.” “What could be the harm?” I thought. Then she told me she plays the ukulele and my blood ran cold.

But I had a listen, anyway, and I was immediately struck by Shannon’s warm vocals. On its own, warmth is OK, but Shannon somehow accents her warmth with something of a hard edge, her vocals are like diamonds set in the purest gold. Then, on ‘God Gave Me Something’, there’s the simple arrangement of guitar, bass and drums that is carried along by — I hate myself for saying it — a ukulele calypso that just (deep breath now) works!

‘God Gave Me Something’ is an absolute gilt-edged gem. And, the rate at which Shannon works her musical vehicle, The Plum Trees, it won’t stay hidden for long. Next time I listen I might just get out my uke and play along.

HEY!
I love the aural economy of The Plum Trees’ single, ‘Hey!’. Why use three chords when two will do the job just as well?

As for the truth, ‘Hey!’ is a song filled with the sing-along goodness of a one-word chorus — Heeeeeeeyyyeey — and over-the-horizon melancholy that punctuates the song’s irrepressible, head bobbing appeal. Light and shade is where it’s at and The Plum Trees have it all in perfect balance with this track, which I feel is both a portent of things to come and a timeless Plum Trees classic. The Plum Trees will likely still be playing ‘Hey!’ on their superannuation top-up world tour in about 40 years’ time to great acclaim from their legions of adoring fans.

The Plum Trees, already big in China, have transplanted themselves to the southwest of Western Australia and, based on this outing, I can’t help but feel that they’ll be equally as big in Australia someday very soon.

Hey! Don’t forget to say you heard it here first.

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