We’re glad to announce that London, United Kingdom-based alternative/indie rock band The Ministry of Plausible Rumours have released their debut album, entitled Summer Again.
The Ministry of Plausible Rumours is Vincent Zabielski and Marc Schuster, two cousins living on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Although they hadn’t been particularly close and hadn’t spoken in over a decade, Vince (living in London) reached out to Marc (living somewhere in the neighborhood of Philadelphia) in January 2020 to see if he’d be interested in collaborating on a song or two. Marc then built a pair of songs around a couple of tracks that Vince had recorded; and despite the COVID pandemic that soon hit the world, Vince and Marc continued to send files back and forth to each other as the world was in lockdown. While the process was slow (both had day jobs and commitments to more immediate family), an album began to emerge and the duo started referring to themselves as The Ministry of Plausible Rumours.
Given what was going on in the world, it’s not surprising that many of the duo’s songs strike a precarious balance between fear and hope—as well as isolation and connection. Comprised of fourteen tracks, Summer Again draws on a wide range of influences and deftly rides the fence between adult-oriented rock and pop as echoes of the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Iggy Pop bump up against traces of Elton John, Carole King, and Beck (among others). All songs on Summer Again were written, performed, and recorded by Vincent Zabielski and Marc Schuster. The album was mixed by Brandon Heffley and mastered by Jon Astley (Close to the Edge Mastering).
Describing the creative process for Summer Again, Marc Schuster writes:
“One of the great joys of making the album was listening to the songs evolve over time. We really took a ‘yes, and…’ approach, with each of us enthusiastically building on each other’s ideas. One great example is the title track, ‘Summer Again.’ It started as a simple loop of Vince singing the chorus, and it grew from there as we added verses and played with the arrangement. The real turning point came when I started slapping my lap to the rhythm of the song. I was just fooling around, but we liked the sound, so we kept it. I think Buddy Holly’s ‘Everyday’ may have been an influence there.
A similar happy accident occurred while we were mixing ‘Anthem.’ The song is a caricature of Q-Anon style conspiracy theories, and our mixing engineer, Brandon Heffley, dropped a sample of a certain former president saying ‘fake news’ into the middle of a song as a joke. But Vince and I thought it was funny, so we told him to keep it in.”
For first-time listeners, Marc says, “As an album, Summer Again hits a lot of our musical sweet spots with hints of the Rolling Stones, Roxy Music, the Ramones, Iggy Pop, and Carole King. More than anything, though, the album is about wanting to be out in the world and connecting with other people. Maybe one of our songs will make you think about someone you haven’t seen in a while. If it does, reach out and say hello. And tell them we said hello, too!”
The album begins with “Soho in the Rain,” which features dreamy vocals amidst contemplative piano notes and languid, clean-toned electric guitar melodies, nicely underscored by shuffling rhythms and punchy bass. Next is “Anthem,” on which bright keyboards and rocking electric guitar licks highlight the track’s cheery vocal melodies, sustained by equally upbeat percussion; while “Person in a Place” is characterized by driving electric guitar chords and a magnificent guitar solo midway through. On “Ambitious,” reverberating, distorted chords complement the verses of the track quite well, with clean-toned guitar notes accenting the heartfelt choruses; a buzzy keyboard solo later adds to the diverse sonic textures of “Ambitious” midway through the track, before a reverbed guitar solo continues its melody and leads back into the track’s lyrical passages.
“Just Another Day” features a catchy bassline punctuated by tasteful piano notes, while layers of guitars later join in, harmonizing nicely with the piano and vocals; while on “Give Up the Ghost,” vibrant keyboard notes introduce the track’s thoughtful vocal passages, which are accompanied by pleasantly bright piano melodies. The next track, “Tom Baker,” is characterized by reflective, drifting lyrics, which are underscored nicely by washes of dreamlike synths and gentle acoustic guitar notes. “By and By” is similarly dreamlike, with low, sustained horn-like synths and acoustic guitar notes bringing about a trancelike sensation that is heightened by the deep, introspective vocals. Midway through “By and By,” an electric guitar melody leads into a reverb-laden guitar solo, its echoing notes nicely raising the energy level of the track without disturbing its relaxing atmosphere.
“You Don’t Talk To Me” features a catchy vocal melody highlighted by acoustic- and distorted electric guitar notes, while the leisurely tempo set by the shuffling percussion suits the introspective feel of the track quite well. Next is the bittersweet-sounding “Not Who I Was,” where thoughtful lyrics are complemented by acoustic guitar strumming and nostalgic piano notes. “Accidental Honesty” then begins with washes of atmospheric synths, while the laidback vocals soon join in along with the driving beat of the bass and drums; and midway through the track, echoing, effects-laden electric guitar notes introduce a captivating guitar solo that soars and then shimmers with tremolo.
“Christmas” is introduced by the staccato, echoing blips of synths amidst dynamic percussion, while the track’s compelling lyrics soon join in for the first verse. Waves of distorted guitar nicely underscore the energetic, powerful chorus of “Christmas,” after which the track enters into an extended instrumental passage with intertwining layers of synths, before a final chorus concludes the track; while on “The White Horse,” cozy trumpet and piano melodies accompany each other quite well amidst upright bass notes and shuffling drums. On the final track, “Summer Again,” layered acoustic guitar patterns and introspective lyrics are complemented by the echoing rhythms of the percussion, ultimately invoking the feeling of summer quite well; while clean-toned electric guitar melodies join in towards the end of the track, nicely concluding the album.
Summer Again is quite an enjoyable listen throughout and an impressive debut for The Ministry of Plausible Rumours, reflecting their brilliant songwriting and superb musicianship. I would highly recommend this album to fans of alternative- and indie rock alike.
Don’t forget to support this project and to follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify. You can also check out their official website. If you enjoy their music and are able to provide monetary support, you might consider downloading it on Bandcamp.
You can obviously find it in the following Playlists: Less Than 1,000 Followers, Indie Only, Alterindie State Of Mind, 12 New Songs This Week, Debut Bands (Off The Radar), and Different Kind Of Christmas.
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