Flour Babies – Flour Babies (reviewed by Marcus Kittridge)

The first time I saw Flour Babies play live I blubbed like a ludicrous 57 year old giant bald baby. This is reaction that is not unfamiliar to me or my despairing and tutting wife but in my defence my blub threshold is set pretty damn high. To put this in perspective my blub to gig ratio is probably around 1 in 35.

‘Unique’ introduces the album in a gentle manner that has a familiar feel and reminds you of things you’ve heard before but cannot identify with any precision. Fellow blubber and singer/guitarist Will Davies, delivers a vocal reminiscent of a quaking, breaking, shaking voice that only normally comes about when delivering difficult news to an inconsolable child.

‘Undertow’ leaves you in no doubt that the lyrics on this recording are of pure quality in both their integrity and their emotional depth. I cannot emphasise enough how this combination of poetry, high drama, tortured narrative and delivery are essential qualities that add to the significant and mature personal voice of the whole band and how this powerful thread weaves its way beautifully throughout the whole record.

‘Two Of Us’ is a journey from start to finish that just tugs at you emotions in a visceral and believable way. I feel I know everything about the backstory here, but of course I don’t. It might not be a record of a real event at all.

Reading back what I’ve read so far you could be forgiven for thinking that I am a sentimental fanatic of lyrically driven vocal dominant music. Nothing could be further from the truth. I own records from 40 years ago that I’ve loved like family but haven’t even got round to listening to the words yet. That in mind, you might see how important I think this record is from a literary standpoint. ‘Nothing’ really ramps up the emotion and everything builds and falls as the story describes an existential crisis laid bare for all to wallow in and there is absolutely nothing wrong with wallowing here at all. NOTHING!

Up until now I’ve clearly been ignoring the rest of the band. But of course I can never do that. Having seen guitarist Gavin Jones live on several occasions belting out the songs and wailing like a banshee, (even though they never let him near a microphone cos he’d break it), I can visualise him causing mayhem as he dervishly whirls around the studio like a hairy, demonic minotaur. Tom Browns drums are always delivered with precision and they fill the spaces with vigour and verve appropriate to the moment contained.

James Osborn’s bass playing has flowered so beautifully right on cue in readiness for the recording of this album. His elevated confidence of late puts him firmly in charge of driving the drum and bass to appropriate levels of power and energy as is exactly required for the phrasing and arrangements that flow throughout.

Jon Carter on keyboards completes the sonic picture and he ensures throughout that spellbinding excursions punctuate the pieces with measured and often wistful fancy.

This is a record I know I will never tire of. It is a record that I know I will pick up many times in the future only to be propelled back in time to relive a period of fine musical memories and recollections of being with good friends. Well done all.

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