Thursday, 11 September 2014

Flowers: Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do

Those early Flowers songs sounded like a train going through a tunnel. Recorded at home on one track, those blizzards of noise offset by Rachel Kennedy's spectral voice are not just really good pop songs: they suggested that Flowers had much more to give.

Bernard Butler's production on the Do What You Want To, It's What You Should Do album gives Flowers' songs the space to breathe. They're a bit quieter, but far more dramatic. Like the McCarthy singles Frans Hals and Red Sleeping Beauty, the tension builds and builds. The disembodied vocals - an instrument itself - most obviously points to Elizabeth Fraser, but these songs are tougher and more direct than the Cocteau Twins.

There's the vigorous and intense riff on Comfort - a close cousin to The Wedding Present's This Boy Can Wait - and then there's the interpretation of the Be My Baby drumbeat on Anna. Not an entirely original reference point, for sure, but Flowers have the atmosphere and melodrama to put it next to another Be My Baby lift, the Magnetic Fields' When You Were My Baby. Way classier, then, than most other records you'll hear this year.

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