CD Review – The Flower Lane

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The Flower Lane’s thematic and lyrical focus is refined and seems to have moved past the naïve odes to beachside lethargy that swept through independent music in the recessionary escapism of 2009’s chillwave summer.

The album is also, without a doubt, Matt Mondanile’s most collaborative effort to date, and this is a good thing. One point that seemed to go consistently overlooked in the midst of the blogosphere’s collective endless summer was that those records could grow tiringly, even disconcertingly, solipsistic. As if cued to this, The Flower Lane has made a record that revels in the community of his capable friends and collaborators.

For example, Madeleine Follin of erstwhile “it” band Cults provides some Stevie Nicks-esque vocals for “Sedan Magic,” albeit to a chorus that feels slightly tacked-on. The guest vocals on “Letter of Intent,” featuring Future Shuttle’s Jessa Farkas and Big Troubles’ Ian Drennan are enjoyable, if perhaps for its unintentional iciness.

The Flower Lane really shines, however, in the moments with Mondanile in the foreground, utilizing his collaborators to flesh out instrumentation and mood. The electric piano-accented titular track hits all the right wistful spots. A cover of an obscure Peter Gutteridge (The Clean) track, “Planet Phrom,” is rendered beautifully, polishing off the trebly analog quality of the original, and allowing its curious lyrics to sit front and centre. Closer “Academy Avenue” paints a charming picture over lilting strummed acoustic guitar, as Mondanile remarks, “On Academy Avenue/Across the street from your house/A couple strolls hand in hand.” This is an image that sums up The Flower Lane as a whole: purposeful, well executed, and quaintly beautiful.

Joel Blechinger
Contributor

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