Flowers - 'Everybody's Dying To Meet You' Review
Indie-poppers are equal parts blissed out and moody
When Molly Rankin of Canadian band Alvvays opened her cherubic gullet in 2014, entreated Archie to take her briskly up the aisle and wafted gently to the top of the US college charts like dandelion spores floating over a swamp of matted beards, she opened the window to a fresh gust of fragile, romantic indie pop smelling of C86, Sarah Records, chunky knitwear, hair slides and The Cardigans. It’s a heady blast of fresh pop air to some, the stench of a crumbling sewage works to others, but among the first on the breeze come London’s Flowers, musical kin to Allo Darlin’, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and the pop end of nu gaze. Their Bernard Butler-produced 2013 debut ‘Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do’, not having Emeli Sandé on it, drifted under the radar, but now is undoubtedly their time to bloom.
To stretch the obvious metaphor further, if Rachel Kenedy’s gossamer voice – recalling Elizabeth Fraser of The Cocteau Twins, Hazel Wilde of Lanterns On The Lake and the future wife that Belle And Sebastian fans hear in their dreams – sounds soft as a petal, guitarist Sam Ayres adds grungy thorns and there’s enough pure melodic nectar in the 10 songs on second album ‘Everybody’s Dying To Meet You’ to single-handedly save the bees. At its most cute, on the sublime ‘Intrusive Thoughts’, it’s a gauzy roll in summer hay, but when the guitars start to scowl it quickly turns from fey to feral. ‘Tammy’ combines the feedback showtunes of Magnetic Fields’ ‘Distortion’ with touches of early Breeders. ‘How Do You Do’ mingles the gnarled beauty of The Wedding Present and My Bloody Valentine to both savage and saccharine effect. Ayres goes at ‘Russian Doll’ and first single ‘Pull My Arm’ like Twitter at a bus racist.
As with so many albums of rough-edged delicacy, it’s built on deep-seated discontent and self-esteem issues. “How terrible am I to wish upon my senseless tragedy? But I can’t help my awful mind,” Kenedy sings on ‘Intrusive Thoughts’, while the Lemonheady ‘My Only Friend’ refers to herself and ‘Bitter Pill’ to the bottleful she’s considering necking down on the train tracks. Best appreciate Flowers before their garlands turn to wreaths.
Record label: Kanine Records
Release date: 12 Feb, 2016