Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do
US: 9 Sep 2014
UK: 9 Sep 2014
Flowers’ Rachel Kennedy has one of those whispery, soft, “ethereal” voices that floats above the music – the kind you might associate with atmospheric shoegaze bands from the ‘90s. In those bands, the music might crash more loudly or overwhelm the vocals, something much different than what’s going on here, on Flowers’ debut album Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do, where her voice is featured at the front. The music this London trio makes is atmospheric, but more like a lush, noisy-in-a-pillowy-way version of melodic, minimalist indie-pop; in ‘80s UK style, with perhaps a touch of the ‘90s and even ‘00s US and UK followers of that style.
The ‘simple’ drum patterns and guitar style will be immediately comforting to indie-pop fans – buyers of the recent C86 reissue or last year’s boxset Scared to Be Happy: A Story of Indie-Pop 1980-1989 will find much that’s familiar about the core of Flowers’ sound. Yet on top of that base, their sound is off in the stars.
I will almost bet money they’re the kind of band where writers will be likely to pull out the cliché that their songs sound exactly like lost tracks from such-and-such cult band of the past, or that they could be mistaken for a classic track by so-and-so if you didn’t know better. It’s not true. It’s never true about anyone. But Flowers’ sound does have clear stylistic forbearers, and their melodies are pleasing in a way that feels classic. The LP offers the twin simple pleasures of familiarity and newness. The beauty about their music is the type that seems an expression of wonder, yet at the same time everything feels comfortable and friendly in a recognizable way.
The lyrics are nothing to speak at any length about. The album title is a lyric from the second track, “Forget the Fall”, a supportive, slightly cautionary song to a younger sister about youthful recklessness. There’s another song called “Young”, and the songs overall speak of youth and love and heartbreak and restlessness. Sometimes the lyrics and melodies match up to form something that feels too simple, or perhaps too familiar. But soon after we’ll be surprised by a particularly soothing, romantic number like “If I Tell You”, or brittle, melancholy love songs like “Be With You”.
On “Be With You”, against a lone guitar, Kennedy’s voice reminds me of Pam Berry’s voice when she sings with the Cat’s Miaow or the Pines. Those are my personal touchpoints; if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll very likely hear others. Which is the point of Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do as I hear it. This is a fresh, young band, attractive in sound and approach, playing music with echoes of many great indie-pop bands of the past.