Frances Plagne (of Waste Drink and Food Court) is a keen explorer of longform experimental folk songs, with at least a touch of prog. Funeral Mutes was recorded with assistance from musicians including Oren Ambarchi-collaborator Joe Talia and James Rushford. 300 LP copies on Plagne’s own Mould Museum label.
LP on Mould Museum. Edition of 300 copies with A3 lyric insert.
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I’m semi-delirious right now, and though I’m wont to complain about it all, it’s a state of mind and well-being that pretty well suits ‘Funeral Mutes’, the latest record by Mould Museum man of action Francis Plagne. Our prog-folk dude wades through his compositions, sort of aloof but secretly well aware of his own destiny, pushing between arrangements a la ‘From The Roses’ Joni Mitchell, dockside keys a la Robert Wyatt and sweetly shocking upturns that’d make Jim O’ Rourke (in his pastoral generation) smile. It’s weird stuff, but contentedly so: Plagne has settled down in this strange new world, and day by day he’s getting used to it.
Tracks like “Roulette Wheel” prove Plagne a fine addition to your local avant pantomime, moving between rather lovely meandering verses of picked guitar to synthy singalongs with bumpy, childlike rhythms. Ultimately, though, it’s the longer form pieces where Plagne shows himself: he’s versatile through tracks like “Beach, Dew, Candles”, sprinkling lounge piano over guitar work that’s constantly shifting, often abetted with electric guitar and lilting harmonies. At times like this, it’s like hearing soft rock done by experimentalists, like Al Stewart on a very different hype -- these are ballads coming apart at the seams, with “Spirited Yolk” using dramatic chords to usher in free jazz drums and a brief coda of a song at its conclusion.
This is a moody fucking record: Plagne spends these songs feeling one way and then another and then another, his instrumentals rushing between delights and sorrows. True to life.
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