REVIEW: Plug In Stereo – The Patience


Artist: Plug In Stereo
Album: The Patience EP
Genre: Pop
Label: Atlantic Records/Triple Crown Records

Trevor Dahl, the wunderkind behind Plug In Stereo, is only 18. Discoveries like this always leave me feeling somewhat inadequate, even if I was too busy studying like the sad teacher’s pet I am to be doing anything else myself at that age. Dahl is clearly gifted, for The Patience is a tender and accomplished EP, filled with wholesome songs that endear almost effortlessly. It’s extremely short and doesn’t beg much of its listeners, with wistful acoustic tracks that linger quietly in the background as opposed to launching an all-out assault on your affections.

“Oh Darling” is pensive and brooding, with the soft, willowy guitar strands that are Dahl’s signature. The vocals, including guest singer Cady Groves, are pristine and pitch-pop-perfect. They intertwine affectionately to lead a basic, but hearty, guitar and percussion set up and a delicate rhythm. The song gets a little more adventurous towards the end but the quiet spark and optimistic sentiment remains firmly ensconced in the music. The personal touch is also firmly present in “You’re On My Mind.” Dahl’s singing is listless, but perhaps necessarily so as anything more ambitious would clash with the delicacy of the music. The instruments are barely-there, enhanced only by a backing thrill of piano. This song is a bit more subdued than its predecessor and seems more intent on evoking a certain feeling, with everything veiled by a searching fog.

“I Blame You” introduces a little more momentum. It reminds me a little of Bruno Mars, dare I say, with a rhythmic and focused chorus and a lot more signs of life. It doesn’t have the easy charm of the others however, despite the obvious injection of vivacity it brings to the EP – its sound is fuller but it seems somehow forced. “Frozen Heart” is the standout track. It has a perfectly plain opening that’s much improved by a rousing, romantic chorus. The latter adds lush layers of instrumentation and an airy, absorbing atmosphere for something that could be lifted straight from a Disney film. It is very girly (naturally), but beautifully crafted and a lovely song to get lost in.

It is a pity then that the final track, “Patience,” is a letdown. It’s adequate but doesn’t quite convince in taking the ill-advised inspirational route. Taylor Swift is the only one who does this right – she may not be the first to employ a soaring chorus and a few bells to dress up a sweet and innocent song but somehow, it just works much better when she’s behind it. “Patience” is pleasing but unmoving, though it does improve towards the end and adopts a rigorous ambience with which to conclude the EP.

It would take the hardest of hearts not to be at least some way touched by this little gem. You may prefer something stronger in your music for the most part, but if you need a neatly non-intrusive time out this will do the job quite nicely. The Patience EP ought to easily appeal to anyone who enjoys simple, charming pop songs.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Grace Duffy

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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