Florist’s Emily Sprague has been writing music for a surprisingly long time for someone so young. Years ago, Sprague played music in upstate New York. In Albany, she met members of The Epoch, a collective of artists including Bellows, eskimeaux, Told Slant, and Small Wonder. After that, she moved to Brooklyn to collaborate with Epoch members. Shortly after the move, Sprague was involved in a cycling accident that injured her severely. That moment and the time that followed the accident are what drove Sprague during the writing of The Birds Outside Sang, her first LP as Florist. Florist is Sprague, along with Felix Walworth, Jonnie Baker, and Rick Spataro.
The Birds Outside Sang starts out with “Dark Light”, a song where Sprague talks about mortality, how before her accident she was able bodied, and now she can’t feel her left hand. “I Was” sounds sad but features a lovely build up to its ending, proclaiming “I found a love that’s here to stay”. Sprague sings “It’s painful, but I don’t feel pain at all” on the very minimal “A Hospital + A Crucifix Made of Plastic”.
“Thank You” is bare and simple, Sprague talks, not sings, over a simple arrangement of various electronic instruments, it’s almost dreamy, as Sprague paints a very vivid image, describing things “moving at the perfect speed”. The title track, “The Birds Outside Sang” is probably the most complex on the record, with drums, bass and organ with some layered vocals as well.
The second half of the record is really fantastic, “White Light Doorway” and “Cold Lakes Quiet Dreams” kick the pace up a bit, but still have that darkness and witty honesty of the prior tracks. “1914” has a sing-along at the beginning, before Sprague sings of being born in different eras. “Dust Inside the Light” is just Sprague singing over guitar, it’s personal and gorgeous. The Birds Outside Sang comes to a close with “Only A Prayer Nothing More”, where Sprague comes to terms with her survival of her accident, saying “I don’t know why I survived, guess it’s just ‘cause I survived”.
Florist’s debut LP The Birds Outside Sang is a great record from a promising songwriter. It’s an intimate record where Sprague shares personal thoughts on recovery from her accident, questions norms, and even laughs at herself. The first half of the record does sound like a bedroom recording, it’s minimal, with Sprague’s voice sounding shaky from the start, but it seemingly gets more confident towards the end. It’s a simple record musically, but the smart lyrics and the confessional storytelling here is truly captivating.
Purchase The Birds Outside Sang from Double Double Whammy.
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