Unless you live in the desert or Arctic tundra, plants are pretty much everywhere. Other than that whole oxygen-generating trick, they basically just sit there, barely moving and so slow it’s almost unnoticeable. The same could be said of the music of Portland, Oregon’s Plants. Made up of the conjugal dynamo Joshua Blanchard and Molly Griffith, the band traffics in psych-damaged drones, experimental soundscapes, and, on occasion, plaintive acoustic balladry. Plants’ fourth offering, Photosynthesis, is full of moody, meandering atmospheres that would make for a perfect soundtrack to a biology-class film strip of time-lapse saplings shooting up and sprouting leaves. Read: It’s the sonic equivalent of “Far out, man.”
Flute, singing saw and oscillating synth tones all create a deeply transporting and undeniably narcotic haze on the album’s instrumental tracks, but Photosynthesis requires considerable patience for much payoff. These songs sprawl and warble but never really go anywhere. More structured tunes like “Seedling” and “Seedling Three” are pleasing enough, full of haunting acoustic guitar and Blanchard and Griffith’s delicate harmonies. Still, they’re hardly the exemplars of songwriting that would justify enduring the self-indulgent psychedelia that surrounds them.