Flowerss - Charm

Flowerss – Charm (Test Pattern Records)

There are times when you have a bad taste in your mouth and you have to eat/drink/chew something else to overpower that taste. That absent minded sip of a cuppa before immediately realising the milk has turned, forcing you to gurn like a bloodhound chewing on barbed wire. More often than not, when I turn to the fridge for something to overpower that sour taste the only option available to me is from a completely different genre of food. Like pickled gherkins, for instance. Today, Flowerss took on the mantle of pickled gherkin in response to the Greatest Hits of New Kids on the Block wafting from my kitchen. Sour milk indeed.

This eight track album (technically it’s 10 tracks but the last two are remixes so that’s cheating) opens with what can only be described as a woozy, disorientating ‘sound’ that is the sonic equivalent of emerging from a Native Indian sweat-in to be faced with the reality that surrounds you. An abrupt end to the wooziness brings us to ‘Halo’ which is pure shoegaze in that it never really gets going but keeps you balanced precariously and tantalisingly on the edge until the electro-beats burst through the mass of guitars and electronic swirling. In 1990s Great Britain that would have been a single of the week on the Evening Session or similar but this is 2013 and this music comes from Sacramento, CA. Oh how times have changed. Next up, ‘Every Mile’ has a shuffling groove and a sinister overtone that would make Kasabian and Atoms For Peace wet with envy. The lilting cool of ‘Every Mile’ is every inch the soundtrack to a Californian night out, swaggering down dark alleyways dripping in leather and justified arrogance.  ‘Big Hands’ is  a confusing track that starts off like a lively Jack Johnson number but then becomes almost Stone Roses-esque in its swagger as vocalist/guitarist Christapher Larsen gives a performance that Richard Ashcroft would be visably unimpressed by (but secretly envious on the inside). ‘Sun Dial’ is a song full of promise and threat in equal measure while ‘Drag’ is the song they should play at the collective funeral of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (assuming they all die at the same time).

The album proper draws to a close with title track ‘Charm’ which is distinctly reminiscent of a Feist tune and then ‘Street Lights’ which should be the soundtrack to every single Indie kid’s shuffle home from the pub, alone again. The remixes at the end are of ‘Every Mile (Boss Fight Mix)’ and ‘Drag (Original Mix)’ which are all well and good but don’t add a lot to an album by a duo that are obviously capable of writing superb original material. Considering this album was written over email by two musicians living in different cities, there is an extraordinary sense of intimacy and soul on this album which is so often lacking these days. Now, where are my gherkins?