Friday, May 17, 2013

Dead Flowers - Sweetfish (2004)

Auckland band, Dead Flowers, followed up their 1993 release with this album - "Sweetfish" in 1994. The cover is very colourful and reminds me of some of the Art Trading Cards I've seen on my favourite forums. Lots of faces, eyes, hands and worms all randomly juxtapositioned around each other and all in vibrant and bright colours. It is vibrant and psychaedelic and fun.

First track "Watch Her Play" varies little from those on their earlier album - it is poppy and colourful, fast and sunny.

Still bright and bouncy, but Bell's vocals are taking on a slightly rawer edge with the inappropiately named "Gothic". The lyrics and vocals have a somewhat nasty edge but overall, it's fast and almost cheerful sounding.

Somewhat moodier, "Same Same" might seem an odd song to release as a single - given the chorus is along the lines of "it's the same, same shit... no one to blame everyone to bitch" and of course it got editted when it was played on public television. You can't say "shit" on tv! Another with a bitter edge. Good rhythms: fast verses, smooth purr of a chorus. Kinda catchy, but you've gotta watch where you sing it!

This is followed by the other single release: "Home". Released the year after Pumpkinhead's "Home" and a year before Shihad's "Home Again".  Not sure what it is about NZ bands' obssessions with home. This one is a fast and frantic, helter-skelter piece with aggressive guitar and whining vocals.

A slower number, "She Can't" features the now fairly standard semi-whining vocals. The music is smooth, but with erratic quirks and the chorus a steady and catchy pace.

A nice intro into "Dead Boy" with repetitive twiddly guitar rhythms giving it an almost oriental flavour. repetitive but shows some pretty competent guitaring. The last line is pretty cool:
"Too much like a praying mantis couple - give it up lest your head will tumble."
Now we race into the almost-punk frenzy of "What Do You Take Me For?" Vocals by Damon Newton, who is a lot rawer than Bell.

We mellow a little for "Shades", slowing the pace and with Bell's voice returning in its usual maudlin counterpance.

Heavy bass leads is into "Some Brain Ride" with its low and somewhat ominous vocals and rhythms.

Picking up the pace again, "Not Ready" starts with a guitar eruption and displays some rather competent rockin' out.

Slow again, as we fall into "Slumber". Starts slow and dreamy with the lightest of drums. Building, vocals rising like a gentle embrace. Soothing, soft, like lying in a pile of pillowy clouds. The guitars join in, lightly strumming. Then it surges into awakedness. An goes on for a very long time...

"Spaceboy" is the slow, melodious and haunting conclusion to the album, and the stand out track in my opinion. It's beautiful.

Overall, a fairly uninspiring album, perhaps following too fast on the heels of the debut. Very few of the songs offer anything new or different and it all rather blurs into one. Not a bad album by any regard, just not particularly fresh and original and with few stand-out tracks.

Rating = 7/10

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