(The Flavr Blue plays March 10 at Holocene.)
I admit, I had never heard of the The Flavr Blue before writing this review. The first thing I discovered was that they were based out of Seattle. Automatically intrigued. They racked up bonus points after I learned front woman Hollis Wong-Wear’s mom lived in Kalamazoo for a minute, the city in which I did my undergrad. Any Michigan connection I can make and my face looks like the heart-eyed emoji. But back to the music … the electro pop outfit consists not only of the lovely Hollis Wong-Wear but also Parker Joe and Lace Cadence. Together, they weave in bits of R&B and indie soul elements over precisely synthesized melodies. To their credit, I cannot draw a comparison. It was obvious right away that the energy and thought that the group puts into their music transcends the actual notes that you hear.
Their latest effort, Love Notes EP, was delivered last December, however, the romantic undertones made it the backdrop for a very memorable Valentine’s Day this year. [Long silent pause.] The Flavr Blue worked for two years to perfect this gem that rings in at eight songs. Compared to 2012’s debut Pisces and 2013’s Bright Vices, Love Notes comes across as a grown-up piece of perfected art, a piece you buy to invest in. Grammy-nominated Hollis slays with chill, clear vocals and clever lyrics, like “…plenty of good things to go around/but you know my treasure is rarely found” as heard on “Majesty.” And as expected from an accomplished spoken word poet, “Feathers” is another standout track, with just the right beat to finally get you out of your chair. Cadence and Joe show off in “A New Kind of Vibe.”
I don’t know what the flavor blue tastes like, but I do know what it sounds like: smart. It would also be smart to keep them on your radar. The band is still young yet poignant, a creative force that will no doubt continue to experiment with their sound.