[sic] Magazine

Flyying Colours – Mindfullness

Nearly 18 months on from their second EP, ROYGBIV, Flyying Colours’ debut LP has finally dropped. Fortunately for us, it’s business-as-usual in terms of the music, which is a heady mix of shoegaze and jangly indie. I’ve spoken previously about how surprising it is to see so many shoegaze acts coming through in recent years, not least a resurgence in interest around the original breed of acts from the early 1990s – and it’s interesting how, for the most part, they’ve stuck to the original formula. It really is a case of ‘It worked well in the 90s, so why bother changing it?’, I guess.

“Mindfullness” (yes, they’ve chosen to misspell it) is kicked off by the colossal “It’s Tomorrow Now”. The first thing evident is that generally the vocals are lower in the mix than those on the EP, reminiscent of the classic My Bloody Valentine productions, where Bilinda Butcher’s vocals were sometimes barely audible. The female vocals which accompany several of the tracks here (‘Long Holiday’ and particularly ‘1987’) potentially steer the band’s sound more towards the likes of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart in terms of melody and musicality, but for the most part the songs remain broadly within the shoegaze framework.

A strange thing happened as I first listened to this album when I hit the halfway mark – I simply sat and listened and completely forgot about the world for nearly 25 minutes. You see, ‘Mellow’ contains all the hallmarks of a classic shoegaze track. From there, it gets even better – ‘Roygbiv’ (which doesn’t appear on the aforementioned ‘ROYGBIV’ EP) is a belter; it builds into a frenzy, never really letting up whatsoever. ‘Sun Hail and Rain’, which follows, is a classic track driven along by the rather impressive bass and drum skills of Mel Barbaro and Andy Lloyd Russell.

In many ways, the second half is better than the first. That’s really weird as most bands generally look to load the first side of an album with all the best material, but here it’s as if they’ve stamped the ‘A’ and ‘B’ on the wrong sides. In fact, some of my favourite albums bizarrely contain brilliant B-sides. It’s as if bands go into the studio with a bunch of ideas – but crucially not enough to fill an entire album – and then they write a whole new load of material when pushed by the producer, and in doing so cement some of their best work. Several of The House of Love’s and The Chameleons’ best tracks were buried away on the B-side.

And there’s something else right there which has changed – I fortunately no longer have to explain the concept of a ‘B-Side’ to kids who have never seen or held a record in their hands. I still balk at the use of the word ‘vinyl’ though!! (Isn’t that something which you lay on your kitchen floor?). It’s more prescient here as this album is only available on LP – with 350 copies pressed on white vinyl with pink splatter effect and a further 350 copies with blue splatter effect. They’ve already sold-out on Club AC30’s website, but a limited number of copies are still available from Norman Records. So, an album of two halves? Possibly, but it still makes a great listen.