Pretty Flowers, The - Golden Beat Sessions cassette
A whiplashing rollercoaster in which the rails our wheels spark upon aren’t reinforced steel but are instead the twisting and twisted double-helix of the Pretty Flowers’ spiraling sonic DNA, the Golden Beat Sessions is a furious cassette-ready snarl of a rock band’s audio-biography (even the album art is a nod to an old and treasured R.E.M. bootleg disc). Prism-ing the group’s knotty-fuzzy lo-fi punch and hi-fi heart into a series of component parts, Golden Beat explores the individual nooks and crannies of the Los Angeles foursome’s sound by using the songs of others as their magnifying glasses:
The raucous, sugar-stamped stomp of Teenage Fanclub’s “Radio” lets the band dive deep into the power-pop that’s always bubbled beneath their sonic surface, while the bloody gnash of “Doom Town” by the Wipers barrels down the band’s darkest alleyways of frayed-denim punk. Elsewhere, the barstool blues of Neil Young’s “Don’t Cry No Tears” allows the Flowers to lean further into the woozy swoon of classic rock’s heavy-lidded swagger than they ever have before.
And while “I Got You” by Split Enz highlights the band’s knack for soulful anthemics and Nick Lowe’s “Heart of the City” is their nerve-jittered indie rockiest, it’s ethereal lead single “Scott Street” (originally by Phoebe Bridgers) that reveals the wistful, melodic, and melancholy grooves that ache within the heart of every Pretty Flowers song, and their loyal listeners—which, if you aren’t already, you will be after your first ear-ringing listen of Golden Beat Sessions.