Francis Plagne – Idle Bones (Synaesthesia)


The buzz around Francis Plagne’ debut album, Idle Bones, roared through Australian indie music circles late last year. The Melbourne teenager’ complex blend of pop, drone and musique concrete fascinated listeners used to the recent wave of great, but one-dimensional records.

Although conceptually interesting, albums built around found sounds like these are rarely the ones you grow to love though. However, Idle Bones mixes that kind of bedroom experimentation with a timeless bedroom pop whose roots lie in teenage parties, Brian Wilson and the Beatles, moving through up to three or four different parts in a single song, say on Clouds Collect. Although that might sound jarring, it actually works, quite poetically.

The reason why is tightly bound to the tension between and within tracks. Tense, fraught moments of dark ambience are quickly replaced with wonderfully accessible melodic material that somehow frees the listener. It is uplifting, but it also underlines the manic quality of the preceding sounds.

Recorded in a home studio, which really just amounts to an eight track with only seven working channels, this doesn’ feel like a smooth matured flow. It feels as though Plagne is reaching for something and that suggests the next album will be even better.

Matthew Levinson