Pennan Brae raises another tasty crop of stellar pop-rock with his brand-new album Planted — premiering exclusively on Tinnitist.
The prolific Vancouver singer-songwriter and multi-talented multi-tasker’s 10th studio offering (and third — yes, third — full-length release this year) finds him keeping both feet on the ground while continuing to gaze at the stars. And even though it’s (presumably) the creatively restless and endlessly ambitious artist’s last album of 2021, it’s also a new beginning: Planted serves as the opening half of a double album, with the second instalment Picked due in 2022.
In keeping with its down-to-earth title, the 10-song rock ’n’ roll romp of Planted is a more grounded affair than its ambitious, wide-screen predecessor Cinema. My Spirit Rides is a punchy rocker with a slashing riff and a Stones-like swagger. Incognito and Iron-Ons are fuelled by choppy chords and square angles that hit the sweet spot between the ’80s new wave of Devo and contemporary psyche-rock of King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard and Frankie And The Witch Fingers. Mona is a lickety-split country-rocker with fleet-fingered fretwork. Night Crawling offers a shot of vintage ’70s power-chord rock a la AC/DC, funnelled through Brae’s colourfully off-kilter filter. And there’s plenty more where they came from — all laced with Brae’s signature elements: Elastically fluid picking, intimately dusty vocals and playfully sharp-witted lyrics.
Like Cinema, Planted was recorded at Vancouver’s Blue Light Studio with producer Kaj Falch-Nielsen, who also handled bass duties. Edward Whalen played drums and Alison Jenkins supplied backing vocals. The album artwork by photographer Dan Jackson captures the gardening theme of the releases, with a guitar sprouting up from the ground — much as Brae’s artistic pursuits continue to flourish. Between 2018 and 2020, he was busy writing and crafting the soundtracks for two feature-length films: The Astronot and 2 Below 0. These films participated in over 100 film festivals with The Astronot now streaming on Amazon Prime. “I miss filmmaking,” remarks Pennan, “and I’d love to get back into it, but now is not the time for that.”
Instead, Brae has fed his moviemaking jones by working on music videos for his YouTube channel. “These music videos have been really fun to make,” he exclaims. “It’s wonderful researching old film footage and; we can create them safely in the current environment. I’ve fallen in love with the medium. It’s really fun to clearly share the lyrical content of the songs.”