Sunday, October 04, 2015

Album Review :: Chain Of Flowers - Chain Of Flowers

Chain Of Flowers

Chain Of Flowers

October 16 2015 (Alter)


Words: Dave Beech

Contrary to their name, Chain Of Flowers don't harbour the sunniest of dispositions, but that doesn't mean to say they're all about the doom and gloom either. Instead, the band tread the murky waters somewhere between post-punk and shoegaze; a cloying urban cynicism juxtaposed against shimmering otherworldly elation.

Having cut their teeth on a steady stream of releases over the last three years, as well as a slew of impressive support slots, the Cardiff six-piece finally had both the confidence and means to lay down their long-awaited debut LP.

Encompassing and often oppressive, there's very little in the way of silence, the record's eight tracks seemingly melting in to one another through feedback and drawn out chords, adding to both the urgency of the record, and the pervading sense of claustrophobia brought about on the heavier tracks.

Take the duality of opening tracks 'Nail Me To Your Cross' and 'Crisis' for instance. Best heard as a pair, the tracks throb with the same foreboding sense of paranoia that Eagulls' debut did. Unlike Eagulls, however, there's a definite sense of melody and optimism that runs through even the record's darkest moments.

The half-way point sees the band's more melodious side become fully realised in the form of  'Glimmers of Joy'. Bristling with Cure-like guitar jangles and percussion, it's easily the record's softest track, and one which alleviates the despondency of those it follows. Interestingly enough, it's this point that marks the introduction of an almost-groove to the record, both 'Bury My Love (Beyond the Sun)' and 'Colour/Blind' feeling far more frenetic than the encompassing walls of noise and ephemeral haze of guitars exhibited earlier.

What makes this album so beguiling, so irresistible, is its constantly shifting textures and changing form, often within a single track. From crushing weight to riffs in danger of floating away on their own weightlessness, the record feels like an exploration of dynamics; the soft/heavy dichotomy mirroring the fragile state brought about by the 96 hours of sleep deprivation the band suffered from during the four-day recording session. It's dark, and it's paradoxically optimistic, but most importantly it's a record that's difficult to shake off, even after several hours.

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