Empty Flowers

Six

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Empty Flowers are composed of current and former members of risk-taking bands such as Cable, Zodiak, and Balboa, so it stands to reason that their 2012 debut effort for Translation Loss, the cryptically named Six, would amount to a very unconventional musical proposition. But perhaps the biggest surprise in store is how all those involved essentially turn their backs on the heavy-handed approach shared by their groups of origin, in exchange for minimalist frameworks upon which voices, guitars, bass, and drums almost tango -- with and without each other -- in very unexpected and oftentimes perplexing, even unsettling ways. Opener "Resonate," with the rather abstract, textural, almost industrial approach of its echoing percussive wallops and free-floating embellishments, is in many ways a red herring, because subsequent offerings like the title cut, "Police," and "Satellite Rust," though persistently discordant and unpredictable in how they blend their various instruments, quickly rein in these experiments into more traditional indie rock arrangements. The melodic quotient is upped a little further by "Just Being Pushed," "Ice on Wings," and "Call a Priest" (remove that radio signal interference and the latter is almost lovely), but not to the point of divesting Empty Flowers of their obvious inspirations in noise rock, post-rock, and the Amphetamine Reptile sound. Needless to say, it's the unnatural coexistence of these varied influences that drives the unique sonic perspective presented by Six, and while the album will inevitably appeal to a narrow audience as a result, there's no disguising its striking individuality.

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