Melbourne-based songwriter Plum Green is summoning ghosts and dark figures on her richly detailed new album. ‘Somnambulistic’ is a step forward from her two earlier album releases, using a more expansive sound that incorporates orchestral and organ arrangements alongside sparse guitars.
Moon of Honey uses a particularly effective backing of delicately finger-picked acoustic guitar, with a subdued squealing electric guitar faded into the background – while effective as white noise, it also underscores the album’s overarching themes of dark dreams.
Green is a beguiling songwriter and vocalist. Her songs have a dark, gothic element to them, but there’s also romantic poetry within her lyrics, and while her vocals can be described in part as spectral and foreboding, they are also intimate and draw her audience in – the mark of a true storyteller.
Well-fitting its name, ‘Somnambulistic’ sounds beautifully eerie, recorded with plentiful space to let Green’s voice take centre stage, with accompaniment from guitarist Daniel Cross, or the Silo String Quartet to support her vocal melodies, something used to great effect in Grave Snuggler.
Artful soundscapes more than singles, Green’s songs hold to the quieter side of the sonic spectrum, but she effectively combines emotional heaviness with her light, unearthly vocals in the darkly cello-led Raspberry Vine.
The video-accompanied single White Kitten perfectly showcases the light and dark at play in Green’s work – the vaguely sinister words, and the foreboding string arrangement contrasting again with the delicate acoustic guitar accompaniment. White Kitten would doubtless be a completely different experience with a less intense backing.
Beautiful and deep, with a shadowy, dark heart, ‘Somnambulistic’ is a stand-out album.