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



  1. I’m glad you reviewed this, Matt. I really couldn’t find anything positive to say about it at all, and it would’ve been a painful one for me to review, esp as I’m very fond of our Mark @ Synaesthesia. So no public snarkiness from me (other, perhaps, than this comment)!

    By the way, the link for “The Subsequent Fire” above is wrong – it looks like it’s the same as the “Clouds Collect” one.


  2. Judging from the album and the half hour live performance I saw on the ABC, this boy is far from talented, creatively or musically. Childish, immature, unoriginal and shallow music is all Francis Plagne is capable of, in my opinion.

  3. I think that people seriously undervalue this album and francis aswell, if you were looking for some easy listening then you should probably stick to wham or something. Everyone seems to be missing the entire point here, the fact that the album has been recorded on an 8 track dosen’t give the songs less merit, it just means he didn’t pay some recording engineer $1000 an hour to fix things up with pro tools. The experimental noise factor is probably what turns people off, but it’s purely a matter of texture, not tune, requires a little mental ability from the listener which is more than can be said of most artists. Anyone who has written this off should go back for another listen, francis’ soft and fragile voice is alone worth the ride, not to mention his uncanny ability to sound like syd barret, the beatles, brian wilson and something new altogether at the same time. Most of all, this music is not ‘immature and shallow’ and seriously, ‘far from talented or creative’?? (although you are entitled to your opinion, peter) maybe there is a bit of hate out there for low-fi, indie artists who put there hearts on the line for thier music or something? did anyone actually see the rest of the abc series SET?? Even if you hate francis with a vengance you have to admit it was the highlight of the series! To sum up, the future of music is coming now, whether you like it or not, and just remember that rock and roll was once the new shallow, untalented music of it’s time.