Flowers’ debut Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do left us completely underwhelmed in the Review Corner, a sort of My Bloody Valentine lite with a female voice (she’s called Rachael Kennedy) we could never take too.
Imagine what Little Red Hood would sound like if she ate the gingerbread house and then spent a year pulling thorns out of lions’ paws and correctly guessing Rumpelstiltskin’s name: all smugly sugary sweet and twee. This is, we stress most strongly, unfair on Rachael but all too often it’s the voice that decides whether you like a band or not. It doesn’t mean we’re right: we dislike the Arctic Monkeys because we can’t be doing with Alex Turner’s nasal whining, though the rest of the world disagrees. On the plus side, it means Flowers are at least different – the vocals make them stand out, which can only be good for them. Voice aside, we thought that debut was musically weak as well; all a bit forgettable.
This second album is better. The voice doesn’t want to make us stick pins in our eyes and the rest of the band has been beefed up: by My Bloody Valentine producer Brian O’Shaughnessy no less, so you’d expect something. The album is also more confident, which helps.
Approximately 50% is decent. It’s a very indie record and it’s got that homely, wistful sound that good indie has; there are some people who will fall in love with a couple of songs on here. The rest are so-so, but if you like Rachael’s voice you can probably forgive them that. We still struggle; we’re Catholic in taste and bend over backwards to like music but we’d guess her voice is going to keep this niche, if distinctive, indie. The fans will adore her, though.
Opener Pull My Arm is one of the good ones, better than anything on the debut, and All At Once is also good. A couple of songs start off like Dag for Dag for tunes (How Do You Do is one) though the voice takes them in a different direction. Proving that it’s the Shirley Temple vocals that put us off, Rachael drops down for the darker Russian Doll and we could almost be fond of it.
For fans of indie; if you like Rachael’s singing, you’ll probably love it.