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Alt-rock quartet Pluck shows pizazz on new live album


“A live recording of our good times (Pluck: Live at the University of Rochester)” is a sonic snapshot of Rochester indie rock band Pluck. Seven of the tracks were also included on the band’s 2022 album “Warm Safe Kind,” and while that repetition borders on redundant, the sound here is more full and tight.

Guitarist Brock Saltsman’s voice has real arena-rock energy. While the melodies often veer into the early-aughts emo nostalgia of a band like Saves the Day, Saltsman’s tone more closely resembles the moody croon of The Killers’s singer Brandon Flowers. When Pluck’s songs call for unbridled vibrato, Saltsman’s open-throated wail is a dead ringer for Bono.

The vocals are the main attraction here, but the band’s thoughtful arrangements elevate the music’s charm. The shimmering guitar timbres on display by Saltsman and lead guitarist Javan Levey throughout the nine songs shine on tracks like “Pretty Shade of Pink” and “Bridge Song.” Comparatively, the rhythm section of bassist Alyssa Zaso and drummer Benjamin Chesnes provides simple, straight-ahead stability that anchors the songs.

“Far Tonight” is a brisk ballad that demonstrates the band’s cohesion, while also capturing the raw magic of a live performance. Recorded in single take at Rochester AME Recording Studio by producer Izzy May, “A live recording of our good times” is a rare studio album that captures a band’s onstage energy and charisma.

The album, now available on major streaming platforms, provides a strong indication of what fans can expect when Pluck plays the Bug Jar in an 18-and-over show that kicks off at 9 p.m., on Sunday, September 10 with Pile and Life in Vacuum. Tickets are $17 - $20. For more info, visit

Daniel J. Kushner is an arts writer at CITY. He can be reached at [email protected].