Florence and the Machine crosses over Hundred Waters.
When a band creates edgy pop that feels dramatic, moody but also catchy, it can hit a really tough to nail sweet spot that gives mass appeal to both the mainstream and the alternative music worlds. This is exactly where Flor and the Sea reside. The duo behind the band delicately balances catchy riffs, haunting vocals, electronic beats and dark synths with aplomb, making their debut EP a treasure trove of treats to explore.
‘A Candid Lie’ opens the EP showcasing all of this in an expertly crafted alt-pop anthem that reminds me heavily of Hundred Waters and Flume. The synth hook works beautifully to drive the choruses forward to feel urgent and sultry at the same time. ‘Darker Minds’ brings in a new wave vibe with guzzle guitar sparks and crunchy drums to dirty the silky smooth of the opener. Using a vocoder, Chaem layers her vocals to sound synthetic over Marc’s hugely cinematic synths and guitars. Starting off small, the track explodes into something you could use as a hero montage in a superhero origins story. Its transition across the spectrum of sparse to explosion is expertly crafted.
‘Kings and Queens’ takes Flor and the Sea to the rock realm with a dance infused rock track that reminds me of Melanie Garside’s many projects but especially Huski. Even here, between anthemic choruses, there is a chillout downbeat bridge that changes the mood of the song entirely for a short time before the guitars smash back in again. That chilled out section is the prelude for the melancholic ‘Reconnect’ which trades in softer pianos and hushed vocals. Whilst it is laidback for Flor and the Sea, there is still a driving beat and thick bass rocking underneath it and the song transitions into a wub-wub breakdown for its finale in yet another surprise mid-song transition. The real ballad moments are saved for closing track ‘Arcadia’ which shows a beautiful acoustic side to the duo as synth strings and brass join the acoustic band sound for a mildly Bond-esque vibe. The track stays in the alt-pop world but flirts with jazzy undertones and synth orchestrations too.
Coming away from Flor and the Sea’s debut EP – what excites me the most is how seamlessly and expertly they can melt different genres together with ease. It isn’t just pop and rock either. There is dance, electronica, orchestral, chill out and jazz hidden in there too. The whole EP gives a slick cinematic vibe and I use the Bond likeness with purpose. Through almost every song here, I could hear it being used in a Bond movie to score an end credits sequence. If that is enough to whet your appetite – I strongly recommend checking Flor and the Sea out now. One of the finest debuts of 2020.
Recommended track: Darker Minds
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