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Plush | Fed (After Hours)
Once in a blue moon you'll stumble upon a record that has never been advocated by anybody in-the-know, let alone been mentioned in any of the monthlies left worth reading. 'Fed', currently only available in Japan, is one such record.
An original member of Will Oldham's Palace Brothers, Liam Hayes (aka Plush) made some waves both stateside and here with his voice and piano-only full length 'More You Becomes You' in 1997. It's low key sound and ambience could not disguise the feeling that we had a great new songwriting talent in our midst. And then...nothing.
Suddenly, five years later, Liam Hayes showed up at his new record company Drag City's doorstep with the finished tapes of the new record they had mutually agreed to release three years earlier! What Drag City didn't reckon with was the size of the bill they were expected to foot for the hand-over, and duly backed out. Eventually, Japanese label
After Hours took it on earlier this year and, with no immediate plans to release it elsewhere, it seems that the world (most of it anyway) will miss out on a truly remarkable record.
Recorded and engineered by John McEntire and Steve Albini at the legendary Electric Audio Recording Studio in Chicago, Plush's personal take on classic soul/rock is awash with greatly detailed (and no doubt expensive) string and horn arrangements. His own loose guitar style and somewhat effortless singing counterbalance the ambitious arrangements brilliantly, bringing us back to other 'lost' classics like Big Star's 'Sister Lovers' and the
Cardinal/Eric Matthews records. His western saloon piano on tracks like Blown Away and So Blind make them standouts, while ballad No Education could have fit perfectly into 'Hunky Dory.' Let's hope and pray that someone on this side of the world picks 'Fed' up to save if from the lost classic archives.

Torbjorn Wickman
CWAS #12 - Summer 2003