Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reviews:: The Flowers of Hell Come Hell or High Water

There are some projects that are simply larger in scope than most non-creative people can process. Knowing an artist can pen an album so focused in scope and so precise that it takes over a year to fine tune, 16+ members and multiple recording studios just "get it right" is mind-boggling, especially in an age where quality is often overlooked for quantity and immediate accessibility.

But for Greg Jarvis and the talented musicians that make up The Flowers of Hell, music is more than just chords and vocals. It’s more than a way to get people to shake their asses. No, for Jarvis each composition is a way to experiment with sound and vision. Each note is used to trigger a specific image – one of the many definitions of synesthesia, the inspiration for this record – and as a result, the meticulous, spacey arrangements instantly burn into your brain.

Come Hell or High Water shows a large shift in sound – it’s still vast and spacey, but gone are most of the Velvets inspired rave-ups – one much more personal to Jarvis. From the lonely harmonica that starts the record to the emotion filled piano that closes it, the band succeeds in trying to make each song into a crystal clear image. Jarvis obviously had a very specific vision for each track, one that remarkably, transfers to the listener in an equally personal manner.

You could take any track on the record and connect with the emotions the band creates. Opus 66 (Part I) is inspiring, and your blood pulses strongly through your veins as the dramatic slow build slowly takes control of the song. The track that follows - bluemchen - is dark and brooding, before it explodes into a wall of sound. Trying to describe the textures and thought put into the songs is almost impossible, as each listener will take something different from the songs and more than likely something different than Jarvis intended, but not matter what image you see, it’s impossible to let these songs float by unnoticed.

The rough, tribal intro to the invocation builds and screams before giving way to the dawning of a new day; beautiful horns and tweeting birds as if letting you know the dark storm has passed and you made it through the night. Despite the complexity and perfect execution of the song, its vision is singular, simple and extremely powerful and for me the description is as clear as the best written prose. The same can be said about the aptly named, Forest of Noise, and how it transports you to a fog engulfed glen that makes you more anxious with each step you take. The Past Tense uses lush strings, piano, melodica (at least I think) and deep, driving drums and is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard this year. The collective never pushes too far, never rushes or attempts an easy, impact heavy crescendo. They stay true to the vision and let it slowly unfold in front of the listener.

I’m not a post-rock guy, rarely gaze at my shoes and was more intrigued by the idea behind this record than the sounds I expected to hear, but honestly, Come Hell or High Water blew me away. The minimal piano and strings that close the record - Occasional Tears - could score not only any cinematic tear jerker, but also the most touching moment of your own life. It's a remarkable achievement, and creating emotion that real and pure is something the trans-Atlantic band should be extremely proud of.

MP3:: The Flowers of Hell - Opus 66 (Part I)

Labels: , Flowers of Hell, ,

Posted at 8:03 AM by ack :: 0 comments

add to facebook add to Digg this Googlize this post add to Yahoo

Post a Comment