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More Plum Tree



This article is from the Halifax Hearld





DON'T CALL THEM CUTE: 

   PLUMTREE BAND MEMBERS GROW UP AND ROCK OUT
   
   By STEPHEN COOKE
    
   The beauty of Plumtree can be summed up in one word: enthusiasm.
   
   That may sound corny, but it's true. Not many bands can get as excited
   about every single aspect of the music biz as Plumtree, whether
   they're stepping into a recording studio or flagging down a towtruck
   to rescue their car while on tour.
   
   Now it's the biggest step yet; the release of their first full-length
   record, Mass Teen Fainting, which the band celebrates with a show
   tonight at Birdland.
   
   Now in their late teens, the members of Plumtree are practically
   veterans of the local scene, since they first stepped on a stage four
   years ago. One cassette, two singles, two tours and a YTV Achievement
   Award later, the group's playing and songwriting abilities have
   sharpened considerably, while their feelings about making music have
   hardly dulled.
   
   ``I think these songs (on Mass Teen Fainting) definitely reflect our
   attitude right now,'' says guitarist Amanda Braden. ``As much as I
   hate when people say we're cute, there is something young about it.
   We're not really jaded, and we're still having fun, and that's in our
   music.''
   
   Drummer Lynette Gillis, who was barely 15 when the seeds of Plumtree
   were first planted, can't believe how quickly their formative years
   have passed since starting the band, which also includes her
   guitar-wielding sister Carla and a new bassist, Catriona Sturton, who
   replaces co-founder Nina Martin, now studying at McGill.
   
   ``I saw an old video tape of us, and we looked sooo young,'' says
   Gillis, ``My sister taped our first or second bar show, it was at the
   Double Deuce, and we all had pony tails.''
   
   The pony tails are gone, but Plumtree are still trying to erase the
   ``cuteteen-girl-band'' label that may have helped them gain attention
   at first, but now seems more like a millstone.
   
   The new album will ease the way ahead. Mass Teen Fainting, it's title
   taken from a Bay City Rollers disc's liner notes contrasting with
   cover art inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, seems to sum up the
   painful and absurd process of passing from one stage of life to
   another; part ecstacy, part horror.
   
   Musically, the album hovers somewhere between the Beach Boys and the
   Sex Pistols, as the do-it-yourself guitars blend with anxious
   harmonies.
   
   The vocals may be sugar-coated, but the lyrics are bittersweet,
   describing the exchange of childhood fears for a whole new set of
   grown-up ones.
   
   ``Our songs have matured, and our confidence has increased; we're not
   shy teens anymore,'' says Braden. ``Basically we're all adults; I feel
   like people are treating us differently.''
   
   Not that they're above taking advantage of benefits their age allows.
   Plumtree was a recent winner of a YTV Achievement Award for their
   efforts, an honor previously bestowed on the Barenaked Ladies. It
   makes up for being runners-up last year (although they did recieve a
   complementary set of encyclopedias). This time they get $3,000, a free
   week in Toronto and maybe, just maybe, a chance to meet veejay Tarzan
   Dan.
   
   ``It's really helpful,'' says Braden. ``Some people hear YTV and think
   of little kids, but it's so great they have something like that
   because they're actually recognzing us and supporting us.''
   
   Support also grows in other ways.
   
   Two tours, with another planned for this summer, have enlarged their
   fan base, while independentlyproduced fanzines continue to sing the
   band's praises Canadawide. With Denon's national release of Mass Teen
   Fainting and the eventual video, Plumtree mania seems all but certain.
   
   Still, for the four women of Plumtree, it's important not to lose
   perspective. Their priority continues to be having fun, although they
   manage to make the most of the creative dividends. They laugh at the
   suggestion they'll be vengeful Alanis Morrissette-types in a few
   years; they're the anti-Alanis, refreshingly uncalculated, with no
   illusions about a life in showbiz.
   
   ``Forty years from now, if I look back, Plumtree would definitely
   stand out as part of my life,'' says Gillis. ``Especially when we
   released our first single, or this album.''
   
   03/14/96





---                                              
"It was a pleasure to burn.                        Adam Rodenhiser
The system was simple. Everyone understood it.   ac768\!/ccn.cs.dal.ca
Books were for burning... along with the houses      dWIGHT  fRY
in which they were hidden." - Fahrenheit 451    SIX by NINE=FORTY-TWO

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