Maybe it’s from the years of practice, but Double Double Whammy sure knows how to pick radiant pop gems. I’ve swooned over many of their recent artists (Ex: 1 and 2) but the demure tinkerings of Florist are up there with the best of them. Emily Sprague’s (aka Florist) debut album The Birds Outside Sang comes from a stationary place of recuperation after a hit-and-run cycling accident. Filled with simply structured songs and soft but descriptive imagery that alters between intimate desperation and a far-off dream, the album is cathartic. It seeks a greater purpose in small details.
Through the first listen and still after many, “1914” sticks out to me. A patient and careful ballad, it begins with the souring visual metaphor, “Grab me by my shoulder blades and hang me out to dry.” That relatable type of pain that verges on the point of no longer caring pervades the song, delivered gently in a warm choir of varying voices. Its short and honest thoughts on goodbyes, rebirth and love are wrapped in sweet metaphors, billowing harmonies, and the intertwining strums and plucks of a glowing electric guitars.
Equally a perfect backdrop for today’s gloomy skies, the 2014 version is a different kind of charmer. One of the six songs she wrote on guitar once able to use her arm again, this “1914” is not as patient. The acoustic guitar tip-toes brightly amongst same melody above but with a quicker and more even tempo. Amidst the song’s hollow happiness, Sprague sounds as if she is addressing each listener personally. The forlorn message sinks deeper beneath its delicate surroundings like a sad poem scribbled on a diary page bordered by colorful doodles of flowers and sunshine.
Listen to both once or twice or a thousand times and that same luminous hope will always resound. This part of a message from Emily on Florist’s Bandcamp speaks to the song, the album, and the band:
It is another part a rebirth of a musical friendship between my best friends in the whole world, and an attempt to highlight the importance of love and the things in life that give you something special to hold on to, to find a calm that can carry you through being alive and being scared.
Thank you for listening. My one and only goal is that someone can listen to this album and feel/see something, and take it with them as a thought.