The Bloomington trio of drummer Jared Jones, guitarist Joseph Creech and bassist Jacob Gumbel were musically well acquainted with one another before meeting singer Logan Carithers and forming Plateau Below. Besides being the newest addition to Lafayette- and Cleveland-based label Jurassic Pop Records, Plateau Below has become a shining example of what an ambitious and playful band can accomplish. A listen through their latest work, Still Paradise, to be released in a limited run of 100 cassettes by Jurassic Pop, showcases their ability to develop catchy yet elusive songs.
Even before the release of Still Paradise the band enjoyed featured placement and streaming on popular sites like My Old Kentucky Blog and Impose Magazine, both publications praising the creativity of the band. If I could describe this album in one word it would be mesmerizing. Lyrically, Carithers leads engagingly through each song, wavering back and forth between a feverishly passionate delivery and reservedly existential voice. He performs with a driven spirit that's present whether the song is spun into a narrative story or a more formal ode to '50s doo-wop like "Evaline." These songs are so delicately composed that each layer can be found, followed and enjoyed anew on separate listens through.
Songs like "Twiggy," clocking in just under 9 minutes allow space for a lot of experimenting, whether it's with drawn-out guitar lines or playful vocal riffing, without dragging the listener's attention span outside of its comfort zone. The long-burning songs like "Twiggy" and "Outside the Gates" offer the slow and hazy pace that makes the album feel ancient. Other songs like "Clearhead Real" do their part in providing the album with a pop backbone. The space-rock noises found in "Dying Down" conjure the other-worldly atmosphere that's evident in the album's entirety.
Plateau Below is a formidable force of songwriting - the prowess necessary to give new life to a genre while paying it tribute and the vision to take a further step in broadening its horizons is remarkable.
Mammoth Cave is unapologetically experimental and individualistic. It doesn’t do many of the things people expect music to do, but it consistently rewards the active listener, which is often times a lot more important.
Davu is the type of beginning that at least leaves you wanting to hear more, because it grants us an intriguing peek at a talented artist. However, it lives up to its namesake in a very literal way: the thin EP is indeed just a beginning, however promising.