Monday, August 21, 2023

The Pretty Flowers - A Company Sleeve LP - Translucent Blue Vinyl (/250)


Double Helix (2023)

Of the records I've written about over the past five years or so, I'm not sure that any connected with a certain segment of my friends more than Why Trains Crash, the first album from The Pretty Flowers.  I wrote about it back in 2018 and most of the people whose taste in music most closely matches mine seemed to love it.  And not just love it, to further evangelize it to others.  Watching that happen for a record I loved so much was really quite wonderful.  My circle of music friends often agree on what bands are good, but there was something pretty special about the way every seemed to connect with The Pretty Flowers.

Fast forward to 2023 and five years have gone by.  That's a pretty long time since their last record and factor in that the five years that went by felt more like thirty and I wondered what would happen when A Company Sleeve finally came out.  Well, everyone I know loves it and that includes me in a big way.

Despite being fully aware that I do it, I often fall victim to the trope of trying to compare a band to other bands to try to help explain what they sound like.  There's only so many times you can write things like 'catchy' and have it really be a description of the music that you're listening to.  I still think that the bands that I most associate with The Pretty Flowers when trying to come up with a comparison point are The Weakerthans (for the storytelling component and hooks) and early Built To Spill (for the band's ability to weave in more complicated guitar attacks, but not overwhelm with unnecessary solo wanking).  

Even without referencing these touchstones, it's impossible to not gush over how expertly this entire album has been crafted as a body of work.  The individual songs are all spectacular, but the way they flow from one to the other is a masterwork in sequencing and thought put into making this feel like an album and not just being a pile of twelve songs.  This is not a concept album, but the concept of these songs being an album was obviously something that was taken very seriously.

I can't say enough great things about this record.  It's hands down the best record I have heard all year so far and I'm not really sure anything else is even close.  If you are ever the sort of person to put stock into anything I write and didn't pick up on the first Pretty Flowers album, listen to me this time and make sure you grab A Company Sleeve.  A shoe in for album of the year if John Reis doesn't put out anything before January.

The Pretty Flowers - A Company Sleeve:

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