Flowers & Sea Creatures - Afternoons & Afterhours EP on My Favorite Robot

Words by: Sean-Michael Yoder
Posted: 24/2/14 8:25

The musicality of a dance floor track is often lost in the clever bleep, whomps, and bass kicks being employed by a producer constantly in need of justifying the existence of his studio to the world. The press release attached to the EP mentions that the duo Flowers & Sea Creatures has been bubbling under for quite sometime, but let’s face facts most of the underground music world is bubbling under and the bulk of material being produced is like glandular secretions into the ether that is consumable music. At the end of the day, it is musicality, not studio wizardry that is going to separate an inspired artist’s quality tracks from that of the next man. It’s sad that more emphasis isn’t placed on what is going on musically within the grooves of the constricting EP format, but there aren’t a lot of antecedent examples to draw from either. And the hungry masses are still going to want their product whether it is good or not. Fortunately, hack journalists will always find new ways to fawn over the same old trash to make it all seem reborn and exciting again. Like the old song says, “It’s the law of the land, whether you like it or you understand”. So, instead of tilting windmills in search of the ultimate Pyrrhic victory – making musicians make better music across the board by berating them in print, it is always better to be a seeker and discover those essentials qualities in the world of music that strive for some level of mastery in terms of the playing.

The Afternoon & Afterhours EP ain’t quite radical enough to be Suicide as far as the electro-pop elements go but it’s leaps and bounds ahead of the usual cast of mall warts that get lumped into the whole Eighties thing. A better reference point might be dusty oldies like Bomb The Bass, Wire side project Dome, or even Nico’s seminal Marble Index LP for anyone reading this old enough to remember music before guys started wearing silly moped helmets while passing themselves of as – get this – robots. That a pair of chats from Montreal would want to reference anything so far from mainstream appeal and decidedly non-mediocre actually comes as something of a shock considering the lateness of the hour with regards to pop music’s relevance but there it is and that’s worthy of its own star-studded gala.

The Very Next Day” is like Yazoo for the over-the-counter culture generation, bouncy but at the same time morose. How does that happen and not sound like complete garbage – these guys pass the test and suitably answer the question, too. Jocks like Jamie Jones or even James Holden could play this track out, especially when that growling low-end bassline takes hold, but the vocals and overall musical versatility are just as conducive for coming down at home after a long weekend of partying or on the car stereo during the Monday morning commute.

The 303 work on “So Far The Stars” leans a little too far into the proggy world that seems to be consuming once decent labels like Crosstown Rebels and Culprit while pushing less competent ones like No. 19 into the unlistenable category. There is way too much music like this already in the world and in comparison; this track seems to strive for average at best, eschewing musical creativity for studio clichés.

The Nico references first make an appearance on the Dead Can Dance inspired “Alternate Endings”. We once slammed Flowers & Sea Creatures for sounding too much like Radiohead, which they took some good natured offense to - who really wants to be compared with the second coming of Genesis anyway? Now we realize they have a sweet tooth for gothic music of the 4AD variety, which is only good in small doses. Luckily, they have it tidily packaged in yummy bite-sized morsels.

Sailing in on a ghost ship is the overtly psychedelic soul of “Citadel”, which has a very non-filtered Nico influence that feels like what she, LaMonte Young, and John Cale could have made together had they been born in another decade. It’s this alternate retelling of musical history that makes the whole EP a real keeper.

Artist: Flowers & Sea Creatures
Title: Afternoons and Afterhours EP
Label: My Favorite Robot Records

Tracklist  The Very Next Day Feat. Wrong JeremySo Far The StarAlternate EndingsCitadel

Our rating: 8/10
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