Album Review Chain of Flowers - Never Ending Space3 Stars
Alive, well, and still heavily indebted to the gothic indie rock stylings of the 1980s.
You might have been forgiven for wondering if we’d ever hear from this Welsh post-punk outfit again. They wore their influences on their sleeves on their lush self-titled LP in 2015 and then vanished. However, this long-awaited second record confirms they are alive, well, and still heavily indebted to the gothic indie rock stylings of the 1980s. They’ve never been coy about precisely where they take inspiration from - they are named, after all, after a Cure B-side. While the core palette remains similar to ‘Chain of Flowers’ on ‘Never Ending Space’ - rolling, tense percussion, brooding vocals from frontman Joshua Smith, and the kind of atmospheric chiming guitars that, in and of themselves, act as a musical byword for post-punk - they sought to expand it over two sessions in Hackney with Canadian punk stalwart Jonah Falco on production duties. He’s no stranger to helping punk outfits channel nervous energy into creative expansiveness, as somebody who has worked extensively with Fucked Up. Sure enough, Chain of Flowers broaden their horizons here, without ever barrelling wholesale into new territory - see the swells of brass introduced on ‘Praying Hands, Turtle Doves’, for instance, or the channeling of ambient forebears on the dreamy ‘Anomia’. The spoken word introduction to ‘Torcalon’ provides further evidence of progression, but while they do justice to their ‘80s heroes, they perhaps still lack the stylistic adventurousness of contemporaries like The Horrors or Preoccupations.
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