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Flowers Must Die – Kompost

Rocket

Flowers Must Die - KompostThis is Swedish six piece Flowers Must Die‘s fourth album and the first to be made available outside Sweden. Rocket Recordings must have welcomed them with open arms after hearing the dramatic, expansive psychedelic masterclass that they have managed to squeeze into the nine tracks and forty three minutes of this LP.

They come from a fine pedigree of Swedish bands that play the kind of expansive psychedelia we have here, but Flowers Must Die’s extra special ingredient is that they understand the groove and can charm their listeners into moving in a more elegant way than just shaking their heads.

However, the instrumental first track “Källa Till Ovisshet” is a real ear-opener. A turgid maelstrom of feedback guitar and droning organ induces a whirlpool effect, dragging the listener into a black hole of their own choosing, the draw becoming greater as the intensity of the track builds. It is a fantastic way to open an album and really sets a sonic manifesto, one foot in the seventies but with one space boot questing into the future. Once this has subsided, we don’t quite have time to recover before the rolling metronomic groove of “Hit” kicks in and this is where the groove hits us right in the hips. Lisa Ekelund‘s vocals are high and wild and drape over the top of the track like kites caught in a wind-filled tree. The whole vibe encourages the sort of dancing where we wave arms wildly in the air, swirling and twirling as the sun pours down upon us.

Interestingly, there is more of a sleazy, funky element to “After Gong”. The lumpen, slightly uneven rhythm and tick-tock hi-hat encourage Jonas Höglund‘s raspy male vocals to seduce the listener into moving in a different way. This is more of a club sound and as the song progresses, the guitar freaks out and takes you into a whole other place. So far, so diverse and that is the beauty of the album.

The eight minute drone of “Why?”, with its hesitant phased guitar and pixie-like flute, take us in another direction again. Like blissing-out in a sunny forest clearing, the female background vocals and spacey effects are mysterious and beckoning, and after a while the guitar becomes almost overbearing. You find yourself unable to move, pinned to the floor by the power of sound.

There is more funkiness in “Don’t You Leave Me Now”, which brings to mind the Shaft soundtrack with the sweet and soulful female vocals interposed with an overloaded, harsh guitar odyssey; whereas the vocals on “Hey, Shut Up” bring to mind the wonderful Mona Soyoc of Kas Product — they are breathy and edgy, struggling to fit themselves into the Spacemen 3-ish groove.

The band are wonderful, able to change mood and tempo through the course of the album without giving it an second thought and as I say, although as the band name suggests (taken from an old Ash Ra Tempel song) they are perhaps coming from a psychedelic direction, they are not stuck in the seventies whatsoever. There is something here for all lovers of edgy contemporary guitar-based music: a swirl of folk, a touch of hard rock, a dash of modern psychedelia, all administered by a band after all these years playing together that are completely in tune with one another, yet each bringing different desires to the musical table. In fact, closer ‘Svens Song’ kind of throws a curveball with its hint of futurity, the odd metal vocals clunking and creaking around the fuzzy, freakily strange coda.

All in all, this is incredibly satisfying. They are currently on tour and sadly I will be missing the Bristol date, but I would thoroughly recommend catching them live, and then picking this album up and allowing it to work its magic.

-Mr Olivetti-

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