Florist - Florist Music Album Reviews

Florist - Florist Music Album Reviews
Recorded in a rented house in the Hudson Valley, and weaving together found sounds with spontaneous music-making, the quartet’s self-titled album is as much an audio documentary as it is a folk album.

In 2019, discussing the correlation between the wordless ambient music she releases under her own name and the folk-influenced songs she writes for her band Florist, Emily Sprague confronted the limitations of being a lyricist. “I’m interested in words being more—like a sentence saying a hundred emotions, and being five words long,” the 28-year-old artist explained. With Florist, she has put this idea to the test. Her words are simple and pared down and always open for interpretation. Take, for example, the winding desert road of a title track to 2017’s If Blue Could Be Happiness, where she repeats those five words during a long, slow coda that encourages you to sort through your own associations with each one.

“But language just scratches the surface of what we experience,” she continued. “I feel like I need to be able to explore sound and communicate things without words, too.” For the most part, Sprague has explored these thoughts via modular synth on serene but adventurous records like Hill, Flower, Fog. At the time of the interview, she was also working on a new album with her Florist bandmates—guitarist Jonnie Baker, bassist Rick Spataro, and percussionist Felix Walworth—that presented new context for her ambitions. The self-titled 19-track release is as much an audio documentary as it is a folk album, with over half the tracklist consisting of found sounds, momentary improvisations, and combinations of the two, presented as duets with nature.

In order to listen to Florist front to back, you have to take a retreat similar to the one the band took to make it. Instead of their usual routine, entering the studio with a batch of songs that Sprague had prepared, the quartet temporarily moved in together and embarked on a more collaborative process. In a rented house in the Hudson Valley, they set up their equipment on a screened-in porch and let music-making become part of their daily practice—something that could weave between cooking and catching up, brewing coffee and watching the rain. To mirror the process, after each major song on the record, there’s a quiet comedown, equalizing the noises they made together and the ones that surrounded them.

Among the first things you notice is the dynamic of the band. Because Sprague is such a striking lyricist, and because her voice is so quiet and affirming—a kind of scribbled birdsong that follows the cadence of poetry recitations more than pop music—it has been easy to overlook how crucial each member is to the group’s minimalistic style. On Florist, they constantly draw your attention to their delicate interplay: In “43,” one of nine tracks featuring vocals, the band follows Sprague’s lyrics concerning the nature of home and family, all leading to an image of fireflies and a long instrumental outro led by a stormy, electric guitar solo: a rare moment on a Florist record where things sound in danger of spinning out of control, teasing a sense of chaos.

It’s a reminder that Florist has always been a collaborative effort, a sensitive group of musicians all equally in tune with the small wonders and moments of connection and disruption Sprague evokes in the lyrics. In these songs, you can hear how their increased intimacy allowed them to locate subtle new textures that conjure these feelings—say, the layered horns in “Spring in Hours,” or the slide guitar in “Feathers.” Listening to the instrumental tracks, like the fingerpicked “Duet for Guitar and Rain,” you gain insight into how they may have landed on these sounds—momentary bursts of inspiration, collected like seashells on a beach.

Of course, none of the instrumental tracks would be nearly as interesting if the more traditional songs weren’t among the strongest Sprague has written. After the stark evocation of grief on 2019’s Emily Alone—a sad and singular peak in her catalog, written and recorded in isolation after the death of her mother—these songs continue a narrative of loss and recovery, a tentative sunrise after a long, sleepless night. In the wake of those songs that explored Sprague’s relationship with her mother, “Red Bird Pt. 2 (Morning)” is a stunning, clear-eyed invocation of her father’s vantage: his memories of driving to the hospital on the night she was born, helping build the house where she grew up, and carrying the weight of grief alongside her in the present day.

Sprague has always been preternaturally equipped to deliver these autobiographical stories while maintaining a unifying, zoomed-out perspective, where each “you” and “I” slowly assume a cosmic form. This worldview forms an almost psychedelic throughline in her work, slowing down time—every drop of rain, each passing thought—so that she can better understand its full trajectory. The lyrics on Florist are filled with deaths and reincarnations: hearing her mother through the birdsong in “Red Bird Pt. 2 (Morning),” or the portrait of herself in “Dandelion” as a withering plant in the garden of her home. (After recording the music in Florist, Sprague moved to the Catskills, where she grew up—a type of homecoming that many of these songs search for.)

Because the interludes outnumber the actual songs, it is difficult to call this Florist’s most accessible album, but it is certainly their most physical. Had the tracklist been condensed, you might hear a great album by a deeply in-tune band recording in the woods. Instead, you get to explore each of those components: the band members convening, the songs falling into place, the woods themselves. It’s best experienced as a whole, but some tracks stand on their own. “Sci-Fi Silence” begins with a humming synth, then fades into a gentle folk song and slowly builds into an anthem, centered on a single phrase. “You’re not what I have but what I love,” Sprague and her bandmates sing together, over and over again. It’s the type of distinction she has spent her career exploring. On Florist, they fill the space between: a living document of what mattered most and what’s still flickering in the night.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Florist - Florist Music Album Reviews Florist - Florist Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, August 04, 2022 Rating: 5

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