I happened to catch Flowers opening for Luna on their brief tour of Spain last April, and though I was admittedly a bit late and had missed half the set, I knew there was something interesting about them. The latest album by the trio (Rachel Kenedy, vocals; Sam Ayres, guitar; and Jordan Hockley, drums), Everybody’s Dying To Meet You, confirms my inkling but doesn’t offer any concrete reason as to why.
The album is a concise collection of dreamy pop confections. Most of the songs have the same sort of structure, an intro with a promise of a different sound, a bit where picks up with heavier guitar, and some striving at conclusion where Kenedy repeats a line or two, posing it as a question, ruminating, toward some resolution. Maybe it’s the musical equivalent of that comedic convention where something becomes funny by the third time it’s repeated; maybe, as I’ve said before on this very web page, I’m a big fan of ladies with great voices.
It’s by no means some revolutionary call to action but this is one of the few albums I’ve been moved to review as of late and one that, after reviewing, I’ve actually wanted to hear again. It’s got some lovely melodies unfettered by attempts at cultivating an ‘edge, ’ it’s full of earnest effervescence that subsides to quieter moments not plagued by cutesiness or self-indulgence. The songs are dreamy but don’t drag on; their ability to embellish yet edit is impeccable.
Unlike other similar bands today, the sound is less 60s through vague awareness of the 90s but directly referential of bands like My Bloody Valentine, Stereolab, and even Galaxie 500. I’d also warrant a guess that they wouldn’t sound out of place amongst the Sarah Records set.
It’s interesting to see a new crop of bands not going to the sources of music they may have heard growing up but pulling directly from the bands themselves. It could go dated but I think it’s those vocals that keep it fresh. There’s not a lot of self-conscious posing or ironic inside jokes and it’s not overly technical or equipment-obsessed. If there is a minimal side to the dreamy shoegazey world, they’re certainly the epitome.
The dreaminess is lent less by layers upon layers of sound but a girl who can really sing and knows how to use that to her advantage. The band lends a solid foundation for her to weave and interweave mellifluous meanderings and we, the listeners, cannot help but be transfixed.
Tracks like My Only Friend, and Pull My Arm, exemplify the darker and lighter sides of the album, which plays through a veritable spectrum of emotion, if not in a somewhat oblique fashion. It’s less coy than outright shy; the band lends a medium for expression and exploration and it will be interesting to see how this is taken further in the future.
Objectively, I don’t know that I can say it’s out and out exemplary, but it’s definitely a nice diversion from the perennial crops of guys in skinny trousers striving at what The Jam already did better in ’78. The influences are apparent, lyrically it’s not terribly profound, but there is absolutely something intangible about them that entices repeated listens. Which, honestly, is probably all any of us ask of a group.
Everybody’s Dying to Meet You is available now on Fortuna Pop!