Mythologies - Michael Plater (Evil Keys Music)
The first time I saw Melbourne guitarist Michael Plater I confess I didn’t get it. He was working on a style, which involves building up a mixture of tone and counter-tones, emotion in the strings lending timbre to the vocal.
I only saw a couple of songs, however; since then I’ve seen him on his last two trips to Adelaide, and can tell you that first, on his own he is a very different kettle of vermin, and second, with folk like Dean Richards or Cabin Inn, the stage is not a safe place.
"Mythologies" is, then, something of a minor revelation, as it’s been deliberately crafted to sink its teeth into a particular expressive niche; folks who have kept a rheumy eye upon what I’m going out to see here in Adelaide will understand, then, when I say that a live setting is one thing (Henry Hugo being a recent example) and deciding to shape an LP a very different thing. Some outfits are very similar to their records. But that’s because the demon of constant creativity is not amongst them like a wolf among a flock.
"Mythologies" is vocal-driven, Plater’s deep voice laying down a trail into the forest, the guitars and occasional harmonica and piano are the dark unknown around us. Quite simply, while you won’t put this on while driving, it works well on repeat as you’re puttering around your room … you’ll find yourself standing there, listening and, after a couple of plays, singing along.
Funny thing about music, I love a good Te Deum, but put it on when you want your guests to leave, refusing to relinquish control of the stereo, and lo, there shall be a great staggering into the night. However, the great, vaulting beauty of the Te Deum is glorious, a triumph of the human spirit (and, the cynic in me will nag, a triumph of humanity to self-deceive itself). "Mythologies" might not have such range, but it’s certainly in the ballpark.
Apart from adding "Mythologies" to the discs adjacent to your collection of Te Deums (I know you have one, all you deathmetalheads always look like you have a guilty secret), and his back catalogue of the band Exit Keys, you can do no nobler deed than grasping Michael Plater by the scruff of the neck and demanding a series of live CDs.
Michael Plater, like so many other talented musicians, shouldn’t really be in Australia. He should be out there touring the world and releasing a revelatory new disc every year. Like so many others, we’re lucky to have him.