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The Molochs – Flowers In The Spring

The music contained within the second album from Californian duo The Molochs bears no resemblance to the traits of the namesake ancient god. Their sound can be likened to that of early Sonics or The Kinks, with lo-fi recording elements and straightforward instrumentation. However, meaningful lyrics, interesting chord progressions or slightly complex rhythms are completely absent for the album’s 37 minute duration. It’s a dull and disinteresting listen which ultimately isn’t worth your time.

Lacklustre opener “To Kick in a Lover’s Door” recalls 90s pop rock and consists of a basic three-chord progression. It sets out a song structure that the duo strictly adheres to throughout the album’s 12 tracks – opening chords, riff, verse, chorus, verse, etc. This isn’t inherently painful, but certainly not fun due to the straightforward lyrics and delivery. A thin and hollow guitar tone introduces itself, which is, again, not inherently bad. However, the guitar lines themselves are older than the modern electric guitar itself, and don’t lend themselves towards a creative or enjoyable experience. The track does feature some full and warm acoustic guitars, a mainstay on the album which, at the very least, help to fill out the cuts. It is here that, right out of the blocks, the album essentially falls into a situation where its only interesting trait comes from Lucas Fitzsimons’ lyrics. These lyrics aren’t particularly exciting, but still add a catchy and relatable element across the record.

Drawing heavy influence from Beatles tracks such as “She Said She Said”, “I Wanna Say To You” presents some of the highest and lowest points on the album. The piece takes place over a constant and busy drum beat, with this nice groove and some percussive shakers adding to the song’s overall mix. But coming in at over five minutes, the piece is rather repetitive, and the crooning of “there’s something,” amongst other flat lyrics, do little to offset this. The last seconds of the song are somewhat redemptory, fading out on an entrancing eastern riff with some heavily delayed vocal passages. While the song is especially long, it still serves as a decent place to dive into the sound that The Molochs create.

“A Little Glimpse of Death” takes an urban cowboy approach to its chords and segmentation, as well as including some tom-heavy builds. Simple chord progressions root the track in ages past, and the overall juxtaposition between dark, brooding sections and more cheerful ones is nice. Some deeper vocals and the occasional droning brass tones reinforce the environment, but fail to do much more. “Shadow of a Girl” consists of a lovely riff aboard some nicely flowing chords, yet the song is still, arguably, a bit painful to listen to. “Every time I think of you,” Fitzsimons sings over the mild track, as if it hasn’t been sung thousands of times before, taking away from the enjoyment of the track.

Up next, the title track takes on a Kinks-esque shuffle beat and inherits more country staples in its performance. The song is very much a story, and through some simple guitar/vocal interplay, the track is pretty lively and almost fun. It honestly comes off as one of the best songs on the record, with some sparkling electronic piano, blues and indie influences, as well as a simple pentatonic solo culminating to a decent track. The use of half-time sections is refreshing and relatively innovative, helping to accentuate the overarching storyline. “Pages of Your Journal” focuses on two 7th chords and has a darker groove due to its swung rhythms. This track especially reminds of The Frowning Clouds, albeit without most of the energy or sparkle. The featured exhaling noises are off-putting in the context of the track, and aren’t exactly justified by the vibe or lyrics of the cut. “First Time I Saw You” takes a classic descending progression and mixes in some harmonica and slide guitar, yet the end result is especially dull. The progression is cheap and in this genre, on its last legs. While nothing really happens in the three and a half minutes of the song, it is refreshing to hear some new instrumentation incorporated, relative to the tedious guitar/guitar/drum/vocal outfit featured on the majority of songs.

“Too Lost In Love” turns back to the electric guitar based chord shimmering, and could have easily been used in any 2007-2013 indie film to great success. The song feels far too similar to previous cuts on Flowers In The Spring to be of any real impact or interest. Some nice harmonies do spice up moments on the track, but the track remains as nondescript. The short filler “(She Glows)” is a slower and slightly more ambient cut. The track is a nice culmination of tones and themes from other tracks, and while it is boring, its function on the album is unhindered. Some slide guitar, a dense drum pattern and a choppy guitar line sum up the album thus far, but the track just isn’t much of a listen.

The straight and heavy hitting rhythms of the closing track are a well needed break from softer, more relaxed rhythms. The song does still lag heavily, always on the slower side of what it wishes to be. Despite a mushy and almost frenetic fuzz line, “All The Things That Happen To Me” ultimately wraps Flowers In The Spring in a dull and numbing way. The organ tones used are somewhat good, but cannot pull the track out of the hole the album has dug for it.

While The Molochs may be bringing back the sounds of pop-rock, in a modern context it translates as uninspired and exhausting. While some short sections are relatively interesting, or cool, as an album Flowers In The Spring falls bitterly short. The rehashing of expired ideas is grating, and severely detriments the overall enjoyment of the tracks.