Florist: Florist Album Review | Pitchfork

July 28, 2022 - Uncategorized

It’s a reminder that Florist has always been a collaborative effort, a sensitive group of musicians all equally in tune with the small wonders and moments of connection and disruption Sprague evokes in the lyrics. In these songs, you can hear how their increased intimacy allowed them to locate subtle new textures that conjure these feelings—say, the layered horns in “Spring in Hours,” or the slide guitar in “Feathers.” Listening to the instrumental tracks, like the fingerpicked “Duet for Guitar and Rain,” you gain insight into how they may have landed on these sounds—momentary bursts of inspiration, collected like seashells on a beach.

Of course, none of the instrumental tracks would be nearly as interesting if the more traditional songs weren’t among the strongest Sprague has written. After the stark evocation of grief on 2019’s Emily Alone—a sad and singular peak in her catalog, written and recorded in isolation after the death of her mother—these songs continue a narrative of loss and recovery, a tentative sunrise after a long, sleepless night. In the wake of those songs that explored Sprague’s relationship with her mother, “Red Bird Pt. 2 (Morning)” is a stunning, clear-eyed invocation of her father’s vantage: his memories of driving to the hospital on the night she was born, helping build the house where she grew up, and carrying the weight of grief alongside her in the present day.

Sprague has always been preternaturally equipped to deliver these autobiographical stories while maintaining a unifying, zoomed-out perspective, where each “you” and “I” slowly assume a cosmic form. This worldview forms an almost psychedelic throughline in her work, slowing down time—every drop of rain, each passing thought—so that she can better understand its full trajectory. The lyrics on Florist are filled with deaths and reincarnations: hearing her mother through the birdsong in “Red Bird Pt. 2 (Morning),” or the portrait of herself in “Dandelion” as a withering plant in the garden of her home. (After recording the music in Florist, Sprague moved to the Catskills, where she grew up—a type of homecoming that many of these songs search for.)

Because the interludes outnumber the actual songs, it is difficult to call this Florist’s most accessible album, but it is certainly their most physical. Had the tracklist been condensed, you might hear a great album by a deeply in-tune band recording in the woods. Instead, you get to explore each of those components: the band members convening, the songs falling into place, the woods themselves. It’s best experienced as a whole, but some tracks stand on their own. “Sci-Fi Silence” begins with a humming synth, then fades into a gentle folk song and slowly builds into an anthem, centered on a single phrase. “You’re not what I have but what I love,” Sprague and her bandmates sing together, over and over again. It’s the type of distinction she has spent her career exploring. On Florist, they fill the space between: a living document of what mattered most and what’s still flickering in the night.

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