Bo'Weavil Rec.Black Flowers : I grew from a stone to a statue (UK,2009)**°
I was a bit puzzled when I heard the first track of this Bo’Weavil release, from a label which I associated more with folk than from what I heard here.
Black Flowers is a band led by Alex Neilson on drums and vocals (The One Ensemble Of Daniel Padden, Ashtray Navigations, Bonnie Prince Billy, Six Organs of Admittance, Alasdair Roberts, Directing Hand and Scatter), and Lavinia Blackwall (The Pendulum/Directing Hand) on vocals, organ, harp, psaltery, Michael Flower (Vibracathedral Orchestra) on guitar/ vocals and Alasdair Roberts on vocals and guitar.
Assembled are just 5 tracks : two originals, two traditionals and one Richard Thompson song. The style fits more or less with the associated bands, as well as with some bands from the indie chamber-folkrock area like Mount Eerie.. or such, so in fact this is already away from folk where “acoustic” no longer has the same significance or association.
The introduction still says “The voice is standard here but not that authorial voice, the sacred synecdoche (?) of English folk. This is voice as jouissance, reaching beyond meaning, beyond its own corporality.”
On the first track this works a bit like a shocking effect, like a punk thrown into a medieval folk milieu. The standard is other than folk, a rock standard, the hard underground cradle rock (heading later towards the tralala-rock mode), with a screaming indie rocker voice, which is radical as an effect, and even disturbing, unstable in moments in the more hysterical emotional moments (her vocal approach disturbed me perhaps more on Directing Hand, but also here I experience moments of unease with it). Then some interesting organ with fuzz guitars are added, which brings a psychedelic flavour to it without losing the harshness of that track. The drumming also is mixed with this harsh flavour, a strange approach if you consider the folk milieu from where it came from and it now seems to..get rid off. The second track takes an element of communal cerebrational lalala singing. Here the female weirdness however is very effective with her contribution. The mix with organ, drums and guitars is slightly chaotic, or free and repetitive as a musical theme as well, but there’s also a song context. “Polly On The Shore” with duet singing also has an indie-psychedelic flavour mixed with the underground mode ; some weird guitar you hear too. The next track which starts with overtone vocal harmonies only turns this into an indie-droning effect, before the electric guitar comes in interestingly as if it’s an electric pipe sound. Added also is some Floydian psychedelic organ. Despite these great elements, it is performed with a certain blurriness, typical for our times, but it has the effect of a vague hypnosis. The ast traditional sounds more like a folk lullaby with some electrified effects.