Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

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  • Updated Feb 01, 2002
"It's my theory that if someone who feels alone hears a song that not only helps them deal with what they have gone through, but also shows them that someone out there has suffered just as they have and made it through, then hope is born. That's the first step to healing, in my mind."
--Plumb's Tiffany Arbuckle

by Derek Walker for the Music Channel at

Any worries of a Plumb-style sophomore slump have been quickly and effortlessly eradicated with the release of the superb ==candycoatedwaterdrops==. Where {{Plumb}}'s self-titled 1996 debut was a gaudy, industrial-rock soiree, ==candycoatedwaterdrops== is more earth-toned and organic. It brings together the glaze-eyed folk-pop of Sarah McLachlan, the drum-loops-and-acoustic-guitar sound of Natalie Imbruglia, and the jangle of early-REM, all steered by both Tiffany Arbuckle's soulful, affecting voice and her rock-steady songwriting. This is clearly a Plumb for the new millennium, as the opening rocker, "Late Great Planet Earth" would attest to.

By now, everyone is familiar with the story of "Plumb" starting out as a name and not an actual band, a title to help songwriter Arbuckle dodge a solo career and bring a band dynamic, something Arbuckle had always wanted, to the table. By the time ==Plumb==, the debut record, was released, the sound of female vocals, drum loops, and effects-laden guitars had found it's niche in the mainstream, with Garbage and Alanis Morissette selling records by the crateload. Plumb found itself trumpeted as the Christian answer to Garbage, a comparison that followed them all the way onto their successful tour with {{Jars of Clay}}. But new times bring new changes, and ==candycoatedwaterdrops== is bursting with "new." I recently got the chance to talk to the Tiffany Arbuckle of Plumb about maturing, the industry, and honesty, among other things.

DW: Are you proud of the new album? What sets it apart from the debut in your mind?

TA: Most certainly. It's set apart mainly by being a much better representation of who I have grown to become, musically. The album itself has many similarities to the last -- by use of (drum) loops, certain unique sounds, and some songs (that are) more aggressive than pop -- but all the while (it's) a much more advanced record as a whole, lyrically and musically. That being attributed to several more years songwriting experience and (having) a band involved.

DW: Why is there such a stylistic change between the two albums? The debut was more aggressive, while the new album is a lot more mellow and pop. What led to this?

TA: I have grown up a lot, musically and spiritually. The first album was more me still figuring out who I was as not just a singer, but an artist, and I think I have done more of that on this record.

DW: How was the recording process of the new album compared to that of the debut?

TA: There were band members involved this time, people who knew me and the producers well, and my relationship with the producers, Matt (Bronleewe) and Glenn (Rosenstein), was a lot stronger. We've had (more time) to get to know each other better and write together. We also had more time for pre-production -- it wasn't so hurried.

DW: What changes have you seen in yourself personally in the past 3 years?

TA: My faith is so less likely to be shaken. I have learned so much about me and the industry and what is most important and what is not. Pleasing everyone isn't my priority, pleasing Christ is. If He is in what I do, nothing else in the world matters. That has been a hard lesson to learn for someone whose natural instinct is to try and please everyone, a quality impossible to perfect.

DW: What are some of your main influences, both musically and otherwise?

TA: My mom. Wow. She is my best friend on earth. I mean that. I am truly blessed. She has taught and still teaches me so much. I love her and I respect her. Musically I am influenced by so's hard to name (them all). Suzanne Vega, Emmylou Harris, Edie Brickell, Annie Lennox, Amanda Marshall, Johnny Mathis, Celine Dion, U2, Peter Gabriel, Over The Rhine, {{Sixpence None The Richer}}, Sarah McLachlan, and Jonatha Brooke have all had an influence on me.

DW: You went on tour with {{Jars of Clay}} after the release of the debut. What was it like? Did you learn much from them?

TA: It was an honor, and yes, we learned a lot from them, (like) how to not be jaded, and to stay consistent with what you are called to do. They were wonderful. Since we share a record label, and a manager, it was more like one big family on tour than two bands competing against each other -- we're both fans of each other.

DW: A lot of the songs on ==candycoatedwaterdrops== focus on dating relationships, most of which have failed ("Stranded," "Worlds Collide," "Lie Low"). Is there a particular reason for this?

TA: "Stranded" isn't actually about one that failed, it's about one that seems too good to be true. The other songs mentioned are there because they existed. But also because I know others can relate to them, and not feel so alone, as if the relationships they have been through that were difficult were out of the ordinary or that they are a failure. It's to encourage. Nothing encourages like relating. Even bad things teach us good lessons.

DW: As you did on the last album, you tackle some tough issues like child and sexual abuse, especially on "Damaged." Are these the kind of songs you get the biggest reponse from?

TA: I "tackle" (those issues) because I am called to. Songs like "Damaged" really happen to people. It's my theory that if someone who feels alone hears a song that not only helps them deal with what they have gone through, but also shows them that someone out there has suffered just as they have and made it through, then hope is born. That's the first step to healing, in my mind. I meet a lot of "damaged" kids, those songs are written just for them.

To participate in a forum on Plumb's desire to reach out to people who have been hurt or abused -- click here.