Produced by Ty Segall and out on John Dwyer’s Castle Face label, you know precisely what you’re gonna get with the Grave Flowers Bongo Band and Strength Of Spring doesn’t disappoint, whirlwind garage-psych decorated with pastoral flourishes, proto-punk abrasion and heavy Glam all delivered with proggy abandon. The LA band’s sophomore effort thus follows 2018’s Flower Pot, literal bongo drums and all, nine tracks done and dusted in a thirty-minute workout that doesn’t hang around.
It’s all frequently, inevitably Segall-esque – flower-power six-string melodies worked over by destructive pedals and plugged-in grooves. The drums get complex forever trying to catch up, yet they still manage to tie the package up as a tight as a duck’s derriere. Hoover III singer Gabe Flores yelps in approval on jammed-out fuzz frenzy “Lazy River”, later supplying a more suitable timbre for the dreamy jangles of “Smile”, heavy noodling and stomping riffs arriving like the cavalry at any given moment.
“Inner Bongolia” / “Outer Bongolia” are then as mind-expanding as you’d hope for despite their relatively brief run-times, a rhythmic funk keeping things playful during the latter, while the stand-out “Animal Lord” is a super-charged romp built on the fragrant melodies of counter culture, but revved up to a long-hair ruffling 45rpm. No surprises perhaps, but on this showing the Strength Of Spring may just be strong enough to still be making waves come the summer.
Best track: “Animal Lord”
~Strength Of Spring is released 30th April 2021 via Castle Face.~