Some albums are winners from the get-go. While the mucky blurs and production style on Chain of Flowers means their lyrics are often borderline inaudible, its shoegaze style and the emotion poured over is enough to gather up what it may mean. Fire (In The Heart of Hearts) opens those indistinguishable styles, a time capsule piece which does not lend itself to the hard of hearing. Still, discarding the brain and barely keeping tired eyes away from the land of dreams, it is nice to be taken on a wave of sophisticated, loved-up shoegaze. A nightcap for the musical soul. Chain of Flowers present as much on Never Ending Space, their sophomore record and a solid one at that.
Still, it struggles to maintain that appeal of lyrical complexity. Never Ending Space is presumably filled with great comparisons between the isolation, anxiety and claustrophobia that come from wide open spaces filled with regret and doubt. But their instrumentals take precedence. Not heavier or louder, but in focus more than the brief sparks of lyrical wonder. “This is where I exist,” Serving Purpose’s monotone conviction states before being drowned in the shoegaze style. Moody tones and vocal clarity are two fitting connectors but not for Chain of Flowers. Instead, they hope shifty mutterings work, and they do. Never Ending Space may not realise its full potential through that muffled desire, but they hit on what they hope to do and do so with conviction, enough of it to steady their course and display unique sensibilities. Much of that is covered with Serving Purpose.
Chilling 80s saxophone blends on Praying Hands, Turtle Doves conjures up some flashbacks to ill-forgotten days Infront of televisions churning out Now That’s What I Call Hits in the White Zinfandel-drinking hours is a shock to the system. A truly personal track, the turtle doves bring up the only example found in modern media that presents those birds, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Public service broadcasting shimmers and an elusive style are the real appeal Chain of Flowers hold here. An electric and vaguely ineffective blur of vocals and instruments is frustrating but hope to pool the mood as one. It is a risk which pays off throughout Never Ending Space, although the argument made against writing beautiful lyrics and burying them beneath 80s-inspired synth and saxophone is one which only makes sense to those who are one step away from bashing their head off a table, blaring noise pop out of a Google Home device.
Momentum is on the side of Chain of Flowers and where shoegaze may not appeal to some, it does manage a strength unheard of this year so far. Never Ending Space has moments that ascend far beyond that muffled and unsure-of style. Orson Welles once proclaimed Woody Allen as an arrogant man through his timid behaviour. Allen is the shoegaze of film. But Chain of Flowers shakes off that timid nature, their heavy guitar tones, the instrumentals that square up to a listener, stare them down into some banal and intense submission that has their work strike through with great fear, is magnificent. The Wall is an atomic moment, the aftershock felt on Old Human Material and beyond, the radioactive appeal of their work a turn up which comes from nowhere.