California dwellers Christapher Larsen and Andrew Hoke apparently drew inspiration from the cool, deep Pacific for the dark, moody sounds of their new project, Flowerss. ‘Charm’ is a record which adds robust rhythms to the ethereal shoegaze surroundings the duo have created.
It’s an album which begins with a serene ambient soundscape but from thereon in it’s all about languid but naggingly infectious indie/dreampop. Larsen’s vocals mirror the detached, disaffected style of Glen Johnson from Piano Magic and in some cases, the songs are just as bleak too. However, the USP is that ‘Halo’ balances Larsen’s insouciance with euphoric arrangements. The class truly tells for tracks three and four on the album. ‘Every Mile’ contains a simple but addictive guitar hook but the way it weaves in and out of Larsen’s cool, despairing vocal is pure melancholic pop genius. The same could be said for ‘Big Hands’, which contains the most propulsive and hypnotic mix of (what can only be described as) liquid funk and another perfectly tuned showcase for Larsen’s airy musings.
It would be extremely tough for Larsen and Hoke to maintain this quality for the second half of the record and sure enough there is a slight tail-off. Yet there is still much to enjoy, including the slow, Spiritualized-aping sway of ‘Sun Dial’, the blissed-out ambient pop of Engineers is referenced for ‘Drag’ and the hazy, trippy, acoustic charm of the title track is also highly recommended. In this company, the two remixes are rather perfunctory except to remind us what good songs ‘Every Mile’ and ‘Drag’ actually are.
If some shoegaze music can be accused of achieving big sounds but little lasting impression, ‘Charm’ is anything but. It is music with a strong rhythm and a beating heart. So all hail the new kings of Sacramento dreampop.
Piano Magic, Spiritualized, Engineers