Heat comes on the heels of the band’s 2019 album Sundries, which cemented Flower Crown as an act to watch in the city and beyond.
Flower Crown in its current lineup consists of Richie Colosimo, Mike Iverson, Zach Bronder, Chris Sexauer, and Jon Sampson. The quintet was set to go on tour in 2020, but announced in March they were canceling due to the pandemic. But now Flower Crown is back performing and just played their first live show in over a year at Mr. Smalls Theatre for their album release on Sept. 25. Their next show will be on Sun., Oct. 10 at Spirit with Gaadge and Greet Death.
Heat is a cool 10 songs long, including an intro and an interlude, and comes in at just over 30 minutes in length, making it an easy listen. No one song jumps out as exceptional, as all ten tracks are really wonderful, but “See You There” — a slowed down, moody track — is one that really grabs listeners right from the beginning chords.
“See You There” is full of existential haze, with lyrics like “I couldn’t tell /something I felt/ ringing the bells/ no one hears them now/ no one hears them now.” It's a song that, for me, speaks of a loneliness that permeates. The repetition of “will you walk away” is a part of that fear of seeing the ones we love and care for abandon us in our most trying and desperate moments. The whole release has a twangy guitar performance that really shines in this particular track, one of the more emotional songs on the album. The full-throated vocal harmonies only add to that overall feeling of desperation.
After “See You There” is the aforementioned interlude, where the harmonies and what sounds like a flute comes in, adding a sweet airiness to the album. The words “in a dream/ all that you’ll ever need” are repeated during this interlude, perfectly matching the dreaminess of this compact snippet of song.
This interlude is followed by “All That You’ll Ever Need,” an even-tempered, swaying track that has intense, poetic lyrics. When read without the music (and without the repetition of the chorus), it scans like a heartfelt poem. The distortion on the vocals on this song supplement the hint of cynicism in the lyrics: “the light of the moon reflecting starlight/ what a lie/ cliche beyond compare.” This kind of internal, tongue-in-cheek self criticism brings a lightness to the song, and an enjoyable humor.
As a listener, “The Billy” sort of serves as the flip to “All That You’ll Ever Need.” There’s no cynicism in “The Billy;” it's a pretty straightforward, saccharine love song as described by songwriter Richie Colosimo. A lot of the songs on the album could be described as striking a balance between a distrust of love and a desire for it.
Other stand out love songs on the album include “Islands In The Sky” that opens with the lyric, “Cissy, I want you with me” and a chorus with the words “And I’ve been lost at sea/ And your love’s like an island heat.” The song itself sounds similar to “island heat,” like many of the songs on the album. There's a certain dreamy, beachy quality that conjures visions of sunny skies, even if the lyrics don’t necessarily match that notion. “Islands In The Sky” is a song about being “lost at sea” and being met with a love that brings you back to yourself. On top of being sentimental, it’s a really lovely song to sing along to.
“Through It” is a track that embodies a kind of angst around the future that pairs well with a questioning of love. It’s a relatively short song as far as lyrics go, simple yet effective. The words “We’re all going/ through it/ through it/ we’re never sober, so what?/ so come on over, why not?” really echo that distrust. A song that really fits the current moment we are living.
The final track of the album, “King Cool” really fits well with the mood of “Through It.” The song ends with the repeated lines “to heal (my)yourself,” and the final moments of instrumentation feel cataclysmic in a way that lights a fire in you. It’s perfectly suited as an ending to an awesome album.
Heat is available for streaming on all platforms and available for purchase through Bandcamp.
Flower Crown with Greet Death and Gaadge. Sun., Oct. 10. Spirit Hall. 242 51st St., Lawrenceville. $8 advance, $10 door. 21 and over. spiritpgh.com