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Flowers in Flames – s/t (self-released)

14 March 2009
FLOWERS IN FLAMES may hail from Ohio in the ‘aughts, but its members’ hearts lie in England in the 80s. Jagged, postpunk rhythms meet shimmering guitars and atmospheric keyboards in chord progressions that move logically but never quite seem to resolve. The forceful vocal thrust of guitarist DAVID CHAVEZ contrasts with the more sonorous tones of keyboardist CYNTHIA DIMITROFF, giving the proceedings a he said/she said timbre. The CHAMELEONS, JOY DIVISON and WIRE are touchstones, but not in glaringly obvious ways. Everything swims in a sea of reverb. Tense ditties like “All the Glitter” sound like BERLIN if that band had actually had any original ideas; “Introspection” and “Last Days” come off like a shoegazer SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES. There’s an aura of gloom infecting what might otherwise be upbeat melodies, as if we’re witnessing a constant war between the forces of light and darkness. So many bands that take inspiration from the 80s underground seem to just borrow the shallowest, most radio-friendly characteristics of the period. Flowers in Flames, as their name might suggest, really take the harsh/soothing, claws/caresses, yin/yang aspects to heart, resulting in an album more interesting and engaging than any A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS wannabe could ever possibly make. Bravo.


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