It’s hard to find good morning music especially good Monday morning music. After skipping through a number of playlists I usually revert to NPR or a podcast. I usually don't like dance music in the morning nor rock or hip-hop. My a.m. music has to be an almost perfect balance of emotions. I prefer reflective, melancholy sounds but at the same time it can’t be so relaxing that I will fall asleep in my car. Enter the exceptional debut of Winter's Season by Flowers On the Fence.
From the limited info I have about Flowers On the Fence it seems to be the solo project of Cory Teese. Teese makes quite a statement about his songwriting abilities on Winter's Season. Not only does it contain catchy vocals and memorable melodies but the structure of the songs deviate from simple verse/chorus/verse type formations.
The first thing that should be talked about is his voice. As I see it Teese has two different ways of delivering his vocals. His first form of delivery is fragile, nostalgic and has warm childlike qualities that make it inviting. An accurate comparison would Trevor Powers of Youth Lagoon. The other style sheds the childlike qualities and instead feels like a visceral, cathartic explosion of pent up emotion. Perhaps his delivery here is most comparable to Conor Oberst when he chooses to sing a couple of octaves above his natural range (although the tonal and aesthetic qualities don’t have much in common).
First up is “A Generous Grave,” which revolves around a lone reverb laced electric guitar and vocals. He sets up an atmosphere that feels tranquil but also kinetic. The lyrics are poetic and ambiguous. He sings “ You can’t find me, so keep looking” and “I’m finding that I’m nothing.”
The energy becomes slightly more intense when the bass and drum enter in the mix. I respected his decision to show restraint. He could have easily gone grandiose but he didn’t go overboard. Teese proves that first song wasn’t a fluke with “Bloom and “In The Morn.” “In The Morn” sounded a little like Band of Horses and also has an incredibly catchy chorus. The drums beat hard, the guitars are clean but powerful as Teese delivers an inspired vocal performance.
He closes with a beauty entitled “Juxtaposed.” The first forty-five seconds of Sigur Rós-inspired atmosphere had me hook, line and sinker. The four songs on this EP are all strong and point to good, possibly great things to come.
Make sure not to miss this one.
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