Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Album Review :: Flowers - Everybody's Dying To Meet You


Everybody's Dying To Meet You

February 12 2016 (Fortuna POP!)


Words: Dave Beech

Detractors of traditional indie-pop often claim there's little distinction between records, and even sometimes, bands. But fortunately for London trio Flowers, it takes exactly 28 seconds before the differences between their 2013 debut and second offering 'Everybody's Dying to Meet You' are laid bare.

Major key guitar jangles are lavished with an acerbic fuzz, providing opener 'Pull My Arm' with a texturous depth that was distinctly lacking from their debut. It runs deeper than just the opener, however. Sandblasted guitars are a staple of '...Dying to Meet You', offering a tangible counterbalance to Rachel Kenedy's ethereal falsetto; a dichotomy that plays out wonderfully over the record's modest run-time.

That doesn't mean to say the vocals are at permanent odds with the guitars; just as often the two combine, creating a discordant harmony that's never more evident than on the shoegaze-y 'Tammy', a later track of almost celestial grandeur that teeters on the brink of turbulent self-implosion, though never quite tumbles all the way over.

Closing out the first side, 'Intrusive Thoughts' is both the literal and metaphorical centrepiece of the record, and marks Flowers' first foray in to the realms of indie-pop balladry. At over four minutes, it's the longest track on offer, allowing the track to build steadily and both the vocal and guitar to soar. Coincidentally, it's also this point that elevates band and record above typical Veronica Falls indie poppery; the tracks that follow feeling much less one-dimensional than anything from their debut.

Arguably the one occasion in which Kenedy's vocals are anything other than peaches-and-cream is on the hauntingly stark 'Russian Doll'. Channelling her best Amanda Palmer, the muted rhythmic chug of guitar and understated synth are often her only accompaniment. That is, until the vocal peaks, exploding in a calamity of fuzz and layered melodies.

Familiar ground is trod with penultimate track 'My Only Friend' though its thematic ties to the aforementioned 'Intrusive Thoughts' is a nice touch. Final track 'Bathroom Sink once again draws from the band's shoegaze influences in what proves to be a suitably heady and ethereal conclusion.

Though the influence of C86 and Flying Nun is more than evident across 'Everybody's Dying to Meet You', it remains more than another nostalgia trip. Its a deft balance of noise and melody, both rich in its own heritage, and constantly looking forward.

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