Boy in the Mansuit
Seattle Sound Magazine, August 2006: -The Plains -The Boy in the Mansuit Possibly Seattle's least apathetic songwriter, Aaron A. Semer risks the house with almost every song on The Plains' second self-released album. His informed takes on societal ills and personal afflictions come from the same dark place; his enraged civic discourses balance with more poetic, private reflections. The real story, though, is this album's robust roots sound: The Plains switch between Crazy Horse fury and panoramic pedal steel worthy of Uncle Tupelo. A relentless, superior album. (PAUL PEARSON) Past Reviews for The Plains: - "...Aaron Semer is blessing Seattle with his presence before catapulting to mega-fame... A major, multifaceted, and eccentric talent... A listener feels as if these songs have always been there, waiting for someone to discover them. (Grant Cogswell, The Stranger, Seattle) - "...edgy, sad, and downright sweet music... These Plains are great." (Kate Pruesser, The Stranger, Seattle) - 'Music this good can't go undiscovered for too long.' (Albert Rodriguez, Seattle Gay News) - "[Semer's] cynicism gives off shades of Quasi's Sam Coombs, but in a less eloquent, more blue-collar fashion. Rather than following in step with the direction of the lyrics, though, the backing musicians seem to dictate the level of pun behind each number. It's that creative energy that not only gives The Plains a unique sound, but also helps make each song sound like a potential hit." (Jeff Rush, Tablet Magazine, Seattle) - "Melodic, super-catchy, infectious songs with strong use of metered repetition for punch/emphasis. Reedy throaty tenorous vocals, and he's not afraid to belt. There's nothing timid about Aaron." (Three Imaginary Girls.com) Bio: Over three years in the making, The Plains have finally completed their much anticipated sophomore effort, The Boy in the Mansuit. This album finds them in more adventurous territory than their critically acclaimed debut, often leaving traditional song structure behind and opting instead to follow the lead of Semer's increasingly eccentric and cynical lyrics. Thematically, the album deals with growing into adulthood in a world controlled by overgrown children, and attempting to find love, honor, truth, and loyalty in the midst of this chaos. "Deep beneath our ribs and lungs, there's a beating heart that controls our tongues," Semer sings in The Heart is Stupid but the Heart is True, a song that lampoons traditional religion and relationships while championing the power of the heart. Since forming the band over four years ago, Aaron Semer, Jonathan Kilian, and Joshua Atkins have not only grown as musicians, but become best friends. In addition to their musical bond, The Plains have gone through their mid-20s together, witnesses in one another's lives to marriage, relationships, mental breakdowns, touring, family members sent to war, and death. Furthering their friendship, all three are social workers, and their passionate humanism is felt throughout the album without becoming preachy or clichéd. Their lack of line-up changes have given them the confidence and focus to eschew the trappings of genre, working in a variety of musical styles that somehow always sound like The Plains. While their debut album was almost entirely performed by Semer, The Boy in the Mansuit is a collaborative effort. It is also a primarily home-recorded effort. Half of the basic tracks were recorded by John Randolph (The Cops, Kinski) in his living room. The rest was recorded by Semer in The Plains' practice space. The album was mixed at Seattle's Red Room by Ben Verellen (Roy, Mastodon).