Wednesday, June 3, 2020
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Artist: Aidan Baker (@)
Title: Songs of Flowers & Skin
Format: CD
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records (@)
Rated: *****
Wow. I'm not really sure how to describe this well, but I'll give it a shot. Some comparisons that come to mind are Godspeed You Black Emperor, old Cure, and 80s shoegazer pop like Slowdive. The promo sheet observes that this 'in ancient times 'Songs of Flowers & Skin' might have done time on 4AD, Creation, or even Sarah.' I agree that this would have been right at home alongside This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins. I expected similar work from what I've heard previously from Baker, but this was much more ' for lack of a better word ' traditional pop music. Of course this is not to say that it will be played on any top-40 station in the near future, and it is far more enticing, but still ' the structure is there. The shimmering guitars are still there, as well as the wall of drone that I expected. However, there is even a lyric sheet, which is useful as the vocals are buried in the mix to great effect. These are songs of becoming one, of love that is complicated, of getting into and under someone's skin (and having someone else do the same to you). Everything is put together beautifully. The best descriptor I can come up with to describe this album is 'languid.' It swirls around slowly but maintains a sense of order as leaves swirling around a whirlpool begin to form a kaleidoscopic image. There is a hidden track on the album; the last track, 'Flowerskin,' ends at about 14.30 but then starts up again at about 24 minutes in. As such, the disc weighs in at around 60 minutes, but is actually around 50. As with all Beta-lactam Ring Records releases, this comes beautifully packaged in a cardboard gatefold sleeve. Highly recommended.