Wednesday, 17th October 2018. 8:22:16pm ET
Reviews CD Reviews Alternative, Indie Rock Michael Plater- Rented Rooms


ARTIST: Michael Plater
ALBUM: Rented Rooms
LABEL: Exit Keys Music
REVIEWER: Matthew J. 
DATE: 20-27-07

Michael Plater- Rented Rooms

Imagine, if you will, that scientists are somehow able to create a human clone composed of equal parts Johnny Cash and Nick Cave. Then imagine this dark country test-tube baby grows up. Kill it, bring it back as a zombie, make it record an album, and its voice still won't reach the ridiculously dour baritone drawl of Michael Plater. The fortunate thing about acoustic music, though, is that if you have good songwriting, you can succeed despite terribly off-putting vocals. Just ask Bob Dylan. If you can get used to Plater's overly affected singing style, this album is full of well-written, even beautiful songs. True, "Shipwrecked" does lay on the aforementioned Nick Cave influences awfully heavy with its tales of sinking vessels and lunatic sea captains, but the sorrowful cello and slow guitar strums on "Darklands" are lovely, while "The Puppet Show" adds just a hint of country via subdued accordeon. With its folk guitar, strings, and more spoken-style vocals, "(Everything Turns To) Stone" is almost reminiscent of Current 93, albeit a half-dozen octaves lower, and "I Fell in Love with the Stars" injects the barest hint of hopefulness into its dark strums. Still, that voice is tough to get past, and it's likely that few casual listeners will be able to overlook it enough to appreciate the quality of Plater's songwriting. A less affected approach, without the drawls and choking gasps and a bit more like Leonard Cohen or even Lou Reed, who manages to play beautiful music without being any kind of real singer, would do wonders for Plater's accessibility. Unless he changes his singing style a little, it's hard to imagine him being much more than a niche act, and that's a pity, because the guy's got talent to spare.

Visit www.michaelplater.com for more information.


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