Flowers Forever

Flowers Forever

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Between the untethered adorability of using a tap dancer as your main source of percussion, the childlike neo-psychedelia of the lyrics, and the half-chanted team vocals, Tilly and the Wall are just about the most unapologetically cute band in American indie rock. Flowers Forever are a Tilly and the Wall side project starring songwriter and guitarist Derek Pressnall, and while this trio shares much of the shambolic anti-professionalism of Pressnall's main band, the overall tone of this album is considerably darker, and the sound considerably noisier. Pressnall's tone is angry even apart from songs like the spittle-flecked rants "Golden Shackles" and "Happy New Year," favoring shouty emo-kid hectoring even on songs that would benefit from a less annoying vocal approach. Interestingly, the song on which Pressnall's vocals come closest to being appealing is a dryly ironic take on the anti-lynching protest song "Strange Fruit," which Flowers Forever completely transform first with a Balkan-style horn section and then into a chipper psych-pop tune driven by a catchy surf-style drum pattern. (Please let this arrangement be bitterly ironic and not utterly clueless.) Those looking for a replay of Tilly and the Wall's knowing cuteness will be better served by waiting for that band's third album, but fans craving a bitter rejoinder to all that sugar might find the angst and careening art-punk noise of Flowers Forever to their liking.

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