Pittsburgh Dream-Pop Band Flower Crown Drop Hazy New Album
The Pittsburgh music scene is bursting open lately. With the help from labels like Misra Records and Crafted Sounds, magic bands across all genres are getting the attention they deserve.
Dream-pop band Flower Crown are among the top of the heap, having mastered the art of sweet, hazy songs you feel like you’re falling endlessly into. On their newest album, Sundries, released on Crafted Sounds, the band deliver a delicious forty minutes of sonic bliss.
"Sundries is an effort over a year in the making,” Flower Crown tells The Music Mermaid about the release. “With new songs, new band members, more booze, and more filled ashtrays than you can shake a stick at, we're very proud of this record and are excited to share it with everybody."
Sundries opens with “Roman Candle,” a dynamic track that kicks off with a healthy minute of rich, shimmering instrumental camaraderie before the vocals come in, floating on the winds of soft, jangling percussion and twangy guitar riffs. On “Bender Szn,” these details find their way into the arrangement again, motifs that make Sundries what it is — there are more distinct melodic warbles here and a sunnier surf-pop kind of vibe, though the vocals maintain their lost-in-translation tendency. On “Stranger Things,” there’s nothing strange or ghostly about it like you’d expect. It’s tender, so lovely in its vulnerability as sharp, sparkling instrumentation trails after one of the best vocal performances of the record.
“Breathe” acts as a sort of comedown for Sundries, though its thick rock opening might suggest otherwise. It’s mostly devoid of lyrical contribution, so it serves as one of the record’s best instrumental moments as each member of Flower Crown works hard to deliver a lazing, reverberating composition lost in a fog. On “Summers In LA,” we get a gentle jangle-pop effort in which punches of percussion and sweetened guitar strums are given the shoegaze treatment, so the band merges two distinct genres into one supremely dreamy effort. The halfway point of Sundries finds its title track, a brief and beautiful instrumental interlude composed of all the sonic motifs that have made the album as lush as it’s been. “Cure” hearkens back to the early beginnings of Sundries: it’s got a summertime flavor to it, building off steady drum beats and killer melodic moments to design a dizzying soundscape.
On “Resting Place,” the percussion is sad. You can feel the weight to it as down-tempo slaps smack against the fuzzy echo of instrumentation before being joined by wispy vocals drawled like they couldn’t bothered to fall out of the mouth properly. Things pick up on “Snow Blower,” kicking off with more energetic percussion and that surf-rock sweetness of much earlier in the album. It’s one of the standouts of Sundries, for sure, a moment of utter calm propelled forward by instrumental unity. The album ends 40 minutes later with “Your Waves,” a slow crush of shoegaze sadness. It’s a stunning end, sprawling in its own minimalism, one of those songs you have to close your eyes at to let it wash over you and soak through your skin.
Sundries seems to run the gamut when you think hard about it — there are fleeting moments of power-pop tucked into the general smoke and haze — but the fact that you can barely tell, because the record is so seamless, is a testament to Flower Crown and the way they’re able to move with sneaky transition into new clouds of sound, never in-your-face and always a total dream.