- New Record Stream & Review - Displaying extreme electric guitar elasticity amidst ecstatic metric modulation, Floral reminds me that the boomerang, no matter how far thrown, always returns to it's first premises, in that no matter how much they have progressed as a band they retain their unique identity.
Being a curve-ball of a string player Floral front-man Nate Sherman has already made a name for himself as one of the few math rock guitarist to attain a peer acknowledged signature style. Putting him up aside other great math rock guitarists like Yvette Young, Mario Camerena, Tim Collis, and Pete Davis, this new record, "Floral LP" pitches new ideas and daring tempos.
It's as though Floral knew they had to bring something fresh this time around. This record "Floral LP" has an air of hunger and clearly aims at carving a new path that's stone deep. These cats stretch riffs until they are ripped apart and then resemble them before my very ears. With this record the auto-pilot is calculating faster and equally executing it's moves with more precision as well. This latest record reminds me of the dynamic nature of Floral's earlier music, constant change and progression is the name of the game.
Two piece bands have to be on point and more adept to compete with other bands who can have more sound with less effort by any one member. Two piece bands often use lots of effects pedals and looping pedals since they lack the luxury of having a rhythm guitarist and a lead guitarist. Floral has only one guitarist playing both rhythm and lead at the same time. There is as much if not more talent in this two piece band than there is in most other 4 piece rock bands on the planet today.
"2015" This beautiful intro serves as a reminder of the Floral of yesteryear. This riff is taken from the Floral song "French For Vignette," which originally appeared on "The Second Floral EP" released in 2015. I only have good memories associated with Floral's tunes so this is a goose-egg for me.
"The Good Song" Angular, mostly major scale guitar riffs intertwined with quick sweeps and tons of tapping make this energetic jam a perfect opener to the album, showcasing the ferociousness of Nate Sherman's guitar skills and the ridiculous chops of drummer Ty Mayer.
"Ebullient" is my favorite song from this record so far. There is a lot of emotion in this song even though it's an instrumental song I feel this song on many levels. Beginning with some twinkle attacks and some harmonic chord strumming the noodles come in quickly making a hearty meal. The breakdown/ slowdown part brings a sense togetherness and family while the twinkle of the guitar accents all other riffs perfectly. A little past halfway through, this song slows down once more. At times it sounds like there are two guitar tracks but I know better, Floral doesn't loop anything, Nate's playing it all in one track. The intermittent strums I hear are just as quick as the tapping and imbue a layered, full sound.
During "This Year" and "The Good Song" Floral employs the "loud to quiet" and vice versa effect most often heard by Pianists playing their piano. They start playing quieter in volume for a few measures then switch back to full force, this is a welcome technique not always used by many rock bands. At the 2:30 mark in this tune it sounds as if Nate is using every finger on the fret-board to play the riff. This is a technique that I know a lot of people have done but I have only personally seen two other guitarists use it, those people being Adam Fulara and Brock Benzel from invalids.
"A Trucker's Wife" starts out slowly and beautifully, quickly evolving into a full on rock jam, this song has more stability than most other Floral songs, leaning on a single note tapping base so as not to fall too deeply into the experimental side of the band which is welcomed nonetheless. This song doesn't get "too crazy."
"80%" This is my second favorite song on the record so far. Undeniably Floral-like speedy tapping runs alongside twinkly hammer-on attacks fill my ears with as many notes as my brain can process in one sitting. In the end the riff sounds like an ending to an 80's romantic comedy only sped up a thousand times. Midwest emo vibes flourish in this environment.
"Saturday Night" is the catchiest song on the album so far, it's easy to get into this jam. Floral is pure math rock which means they are intentionally trying to make complex and technically sound music for the sake of making technically complex music. This loses a lot of non math rock fans, however if you pay close attention to it there are so many different parts to appreciate that it may take you a few times listening to a song before you "get it." Though, after you cross that threshold, you're all in, you're golden and will likely have a new addiction.
Floral is an addiction I don't need treatment for, one that makes me feel like everything in the universe is as equally symmetrical as it is asymmetrical and it's completely perfect how it is. Nothing added or taken away could make this music any better. "Floral LP" is truly a masterful work of art in the highest sense of the phrase. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars. -M Chan
Check out this guitar play-through video for the standout track on the new record called "This Year"