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Skating Club, Bugs and Flowers (Wishing Tree)
Listeners of sad core rejoice! Bugs and Flowers is here for your enjoyment. An album not quite as maudlin as Things We Lost in the Fire or The Braille Night, Bugs and Flowers combines a veritable raft of influences to float up their unassuming, quieted take on pop music. Conveying the loneliness of Cat Power; the slow, indie-alt/country twinge of Uncle Tupelo, Idaho, Wilco, and Smog; the free-wheeling, airy post-rock of Spiritualized and Spacemen 3; the straight ahead, sad bastard moments of Low, Ida, and Spain; the minimalism of Galaxie 500; the sad British flavor of Belle and Sebastian and Nick Drake; the singer/songwriter approach of Damien Jurado (at the slower moments) and Elliot Smith (perhaps on downers with more picking and less strumming); the vocals of Coldplay's Chris Martin on the ditty "I Returned to California"; the cold, Icelandic instrumentation of Bjork (circa Vespertine) on "Here Before"; and the weary whisper of Wayne Cohen and bombastic snare/loose bass-duo drumming of Steven Drozd of the Flaming Lips' Soft Bulletin era on "Stockholm", Skating Club brings their music to a crowd that grew up on American Music Club, but now have a wealth of artists to choose from, such as the understated Skating Club from Boston. The first track, "Empty New Bedroom", is just plain gorgeous and is the strongest of all the songs. The rest of the album really just attempts to re-capture the glory of "Empty New Bedroom", but never really succeeds. But trying to grab the stars is better than an attempt at touching the bottom of the basketball net. Kudos, Skating Club.