Boomkat Product Review:
When rummaging through Sam And The Plants 7"s you're inevitably struck by how erratic and ruptured with off-topic detours Sam McLoughlin's songwriting is. Of course, these seemingly diversionary forays into sound collage, analogue prog and scatterbrained disjointedness are as much the focal point of his music as the more conventional 'song' aspects of his work, and the very fact that within the short-form constraints of his vinyl EPs he's able to cram so many ideas into his recordings is a startling attribute. Ported to a full-length setting, this densely packed barrage becomes more of a challenge for the listener, however the fragmented, occasionally deranged sequencing isn't without one or two more straight forward pieces: 'Small Riot' is chiefly made up of Sam's lo-fi balladry, although the surreal ninety second ditty is bookended by strange, sampled sounds (dictaphone recordings of cockerels, jangling cowbells et al) and grainy documents of folksy melodies - these things seem to breeze in and out of the mix throughout the album. This notion that anything could happen at any given moment is both Sam's most distinctive presentational foible and his greatest enemy as a songwriter. Just when he's onto a great idea, the sheer mutability of the record's flow of ideas means he's already onto something else. He's a right old tease. You might consider listening to The Eft as being a little bit like rooting through someone's messy attic: it's full of strange, intriguing bric-a-brac, but enough time spent wading through the record's more tangential moments - the digressive treats buried beneath all that dusty detritus - will reveal plenty of valuable nuggets. Songs like 'Mammat', 'Never Or Now' and 'Cremation' all portray Sam as a 'proper' songwriter, albeit one unencumbered by the customary preoccupations of that breed. The openness to all manner of avenues for sonic exploration makes The Eft far more densely constructed than its thirty-something minutes suggest and there's much to be discovered over repeat listens. Smashing.