Foxygen’s new album sees the band taking an unexpected foray into symphonic orchestration. It’s certainly ambitious, but is it good?
A synthetic, wavering spookiness opens up Flaural’s most recent EP, Over Imaginary Cigarettes. The album’s cover photograph was taken in inclement weather, dotted with lens flare, condensed water, and falling snowflakes. There’s a sonic equivalent of that noise and obfuscation in their music, but it weighs out as far more method than madness. There are elements of post punk, drone, and modern psychedelia. It’s carefully crafted, call it what you want. I’d call it semi-robotic post-space-age rock ‘n’ roll.
Flaural sprang into existence in Denver some time around the summer of 2015. Three of its members rose from the ashes of previous project, A Band in Pictures. Pushing music somewhat off the beaten track of current trends, they climbed into your headspace through touring, festival appearances, and playing support for the likes of Foxygen. Live, the band has a notable amount of control and cohesion, allowing them to stray into noise and experimentation without leaving the song behind.
Over Imaginary Cigarettes is more sophisticated than last year’s Thin King EP, which saw the band working from a more traditional tool box. It’s a quick listen but it covers a lot of ground. You’ll hear the bottomlessness of ‘60s psychedelia against tight kraut-rock drum beats. The technicality of riffs and musical motifs give the music a cinematic effect. In this sense, it resembles a proggier and less radio-friendly Yoshimi Battles the Evil Pink Robots.
Tonally, it’s a very colorful collection of songs. The synthesizers and effected guitars wear many masks, their introductions and disappearances giving the EP its shape–the sense you end somewhere different than where you started. It might be more of a headphones record than party music, unless you’re partying at an arcade and everyone is dressed as aliens.