JASON PLUMB Under And Over (MapleMusic) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
If this solo debut by ex-Walton Jason Plumb sounds suspiciously like it could be the best album Starling never recorded, that's cuz he's enlisted the members of Ottawa's perpetual great white hope to serve as his backing band. Smartly produced by Barenaked Lady Ed Robertson, Under And Over merges a knack for near perfect pop hooks with slightly gritty alt-country charm that never sounds forced. Plumb achieves soaring, sun-drenched atmospherics with killer opener Satellite, an aching tune centred around a Stevie Wonderish (!) melody. It's easy to wow with your lead track (see Starling's 2002 Stuff You Should Have Said Before for proof), but what's impressive is the way he maintains the emotional aura throughout, from the Sarah Harmer-backed country ballad Old Familiar Ring to the Southern-fried rocker Wide Open. Jason Plumb opens for Jonny James at the El Mocambo tonight (Thursday, November 13) and carries on a November residency upstairs at the Rivoli's Maple Lounge on Wednesday (November 19).