Puerto Rico Flowers
Fan Death Records
Avail June 14, 2011
Genre: dark pop
Review by Jane Chardiet
Fans of Puerto Rico Flowers have patiently waited nearly a year and a half since the release of their first EP, 4, for a full length. On June 14, 2011, the wait is finally over. Dropping on Baltimore based Fan Death Records, 7 delivers seven new tracks at last.
Puerto Rico Flowers is the mastermind of John Sharkey III, of Clockcleaner fame, but it seems like he doesn’t like people to bring that up too much when they talk about Puerto Rico Flowers. I suppose this makes sense, because the two bands sound nothing alike.
This time around, Sharkey has enlisted the help of Philadelphia’s constant hit maker Kurt Vile but this does not tamper with Puerto Rico Flower’s very particular style. Sharkey seems to have developed a perfect formula to craft these minimal-yet-satisfying Puerto Rico Flowers tracks: simplicity and repetition. Everything has a slowed down tribal feel, not unlike your favorite goth song played too slow, on a loop.
The drums can almost pass for an early drum machine. Simple and without the fills or frills. Every song, save one, is driven by bass in lieu of a guitar. Perfectly placed, pretty snyth lines contrast Sharkey’s low droning vocals. Each track lends it’s self to the next, and it is easy to get lost in the album as if it was one track. This is the album’s blessing and curse.
While 7 is satisfying and consistent with Puerto Rico Flower’s past work, it lacks the musical development that I anticipated. Puerto Rico Flower’s first release was so unique and refreshing that I assumed that Sharkey and the gang would push their visions further, instead of simply onward. Aside from being a little more snyth heavy, 7 does not really stray from Puerto Rico Flower’s former work. Furthermore, some of the songs have a little too much in common and it is a wonder why they were made into two tracks instead of one. That is not to say that 7 is not good or that 7 does not contain some stand out tracks. Because it is, and it does.
“Burning Down Your House”, for instance, has a stoner metal rhythm that becomes special when surprisingly mixed with pop-snyth. The track sounds something like a cross between Sleep and Cold Cave, and it works. “Keep me Around” speeds up the pace of album a bit and works as the album’s jam track before giving way to the 7‘s final track, “After the Weekend”.
“After the Weekend” features classical piano, light guitar, and acts as the final slow dance with a Gentle Touch air.
7 defiantly lends it’s self to be listened to over and over even if it is a little bit of a let down for a die hard fans with high expectations, such as myself. If you loved the first album and didn’t want anything to change, however, you will be completely pleased. 7 is for fans of dark contemporary music that bows in respect to its 80’s snyth goth elders.
As I write this review, Fan Death Records have already sold out of over half of their pre-orders. Hurry up and pre-order a record before it’s too late! Visit fandeathrecords.com to stream and/or pre-order a record!
Puerto Rico Flowers only play live shows seasonally when they feel like it. If you happen to be in the East Coast, be sure to catch Puerto Rico Flowers in Philadelphia on June 19 with Leather and Ice Age, at The Barbary; or August 27 in Brooklyn with Screen Vinyl Image and Pleasure Leftists at Mishka.
7 Track List:
1.I Feel Good
3.The Pain Comes Slowly
4.Burning Down Your House
6.Keep Me Around (w/ Kurt Vile)
7.After The Weekend