[sic] Magazine

Chain Of Flowers – Chain Of Flowers

Chain Of Flowers’ long-playing debut is one of those albums in which the lead guitar seems to duet with the vocal. And the dance the two perform, airy chords tip-toeing around melancholy lyrics, is what saves the Cardiff six-piece’s oppressive eight-track collection of obfuscated post-punk from collapsing in on itself like a dying star.

Despite jangling respites of 80s guitar, the band’s heavy fug of instruments and distortion swirls, too, with crushing shoegaze that tends to obliterate Ben Greenberg of The Men’s mix into indistinction no matter the volume at which it is played. Loud is of course best, however, and Chain of Flowers are duly all noise all of the time, even on tracks that might have started life as tender, but miserable indie-rockers.

The sonic claustrophobia that ensues is a bit muddy in parts, but Josh Smith’s powerful, catchy choruses often ring with a dose of required clarity. Just as he ups his game when the pressure builds so does the soloing, the dynamic duo ripping the tale-end of “Death’s Got A Hold On Me” (remarkably, not a White Lies pastiche) a new one, for example. Strong melody manages to pervade even the darkest corners though, throbbing through the thick wall of feedback in sludgy single “Nail Me To Your Cross” amongst others. And, as light as the ultimately misleadingly named Chain Of Flowers get, the woozy melodies in “Glimmers Of Joy” come on all Robert Smith, finding happiness in between the ubiquitous “rain [that] falls down”.

Despite questions over Chain Of Flowers’ originality that aren’t going to go away, it’s great to have British bands back reclaiming British sounds in quantity all the same. As the speaker-blown bass lays down something resembling a groove in “Bury My Love (Beyond The Sun)”, for example, it’s as if a portal has opened up straight back to the gloom of the 80s. The soaring solo in “Follow”, too, has a curiously Oasis-like quality without recalling anything in particular, the track’s ear-swelling synth buzz always threatening to burst wide open.

Chain Of Flowers make the most of the current period’s revivalism without attaching themselves too strongly to any of their many and obvious influences. An old-school, no-nonsense band deserving, perhaps, of an old-school, no-nonsense review. Simply put then – RIYL: Eagulls, Girls Names, Autobahn, etc.

Best track: “Follow”

~Chain Of Flowers is released October 16th 2015 via Alter.~