From song inspiration to digital, distant recording processes, one of the stranger phenomena when it comes to the promotion of indie artists and albums this past year has been how creative expression is seen in the light of the pandemic. In normal times, the shimmering sonics, colorful guitar jangles, dreamy nostalgic vocals and infectious rhythms of Waxflight’s compelling in all ways album Flowers would be the focus.
We would care deeply that all this sonic magic was being fashioned in a playful, freewheeling way by onetime Holiday Gunfire members, lead singer/songwriter Craig Ceravolo and Les Nuby, and guys from the Black Pill and Esker rounding out the rhythm section. When we heard the anxious piano chords at the start of the opening track and lead single “Fall Into Life” and then Ceravolo telling us “this is your wake up call,” we would surely think he means in a general spiritual or philosophical way.
But now, from the infectious jangle of “Ny-Lon” through the trippy, intimate hypnosis of “Daughters of Progress” and the snappy, 80’s minded “Myth of You,” we’re somehow supposed to not simply enjoy the songs for their own sake and find connections and interpretations through our individual life experiences. We can do that, but that would be defiant because we’re told that somehow everything connects back to the symbolism of the album title. It’s all about flowers brightening a room or signaling grief, disappearing and returning – and signifying love, loss and celebration, especially during this time of shelter in place, standing six feet apart, social distancing and uncertainty.
For my money, I would much prefer to enjoy the slow building, atmospheric seduction of “Kissing a Stranger, the alternating blasting wall of guitars and trippy chill moments and Ceravolo’s lush textured harmonies on “Sancte Michael,” the delightful rambling crunch of “Equation” and and the soulful invitation to run with some “New Dogs” without the craziness of our outside surreality creeping in. When you experience Flowers as just an incredible, sonically expansive album regardless of the era it was released, you can see those flowers as simply the gift they are as if someone gave them to you in 2019 or any previous era.