You’ve got a plan. It’s yours to make. It’s yours to break. You can own it, spin it, build it and smash it. You can write it down. You can shake it up. You can change your mind. You can burn the plan.
With Burn The Plan, a long-awaited new album, Good Lovelies are both fulfilling and defying their so-called musical destiny as a “folk trio.” What makes this Burn The Plan special is that the band’s considerable strengths - winsome songwriting, impeccable vocals, and triangulated charisma - don’t tell the full story. There’s a new spirit of adventurousness that gives Burn The Plan an extra spark; the album is permeated with textures and tones from musical worlds away.
The eye-opening “In The Morning” has a delicate electronic touch that is more Postal Service than McGarrigle. “Waiting For You,” the most radio-ready of the collection, is an up-tempo, shimmering keyboard-laced number that would fit comfortably alongside the soft pop throwback of HAIM. Good Lovelies explore their inner Grimm with “The Doe,” which, like all good fairytales, is one part enchanting and one part chilling. Even the old time underpinnings of “Old Fashioned” and “When the City Settles” have a new polish, confidence and depth.
This time around, the trio has spent time developing, expanding and honing their sound as musicians first, and as Good Lovelies second. These new songs were crafted not to ‘fit’ the band’s catalogue per se, but to exercise some autonomy from the confines of genre and tradition. The band is still playing, but not always to type, you might say.
Burn The Plan is a study in how individual voices find common ground in such a tight-knit group dynamic. What keeps the three Lovelies making music together is not just their uncanny vocal compatibility; it’s their unshakeable friendships, which supports each member contributing to the songwriting in distinct ways. The story behind Burn The Plan is something of a contradiction – while each Lovely contributed their most personal songs to date, each song is filtered through a unique process of collaboration that characterizes the band’s entire M.O, where the final result is really and truly equal.
2011’s Juno-nominated Let The Rain Fall was the last time the Good Lovelies released a full-length studio album. It may not feel so long ago, since the band’s profile has continued to grow with awards, steady and sold-out touring, and a live album in between, but you can do a whole lotta living, loving and letting go in four years. For Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore, four years has been the exact number of hours, moments and experiences needed to take the next step, to burn the plan.