Founded by the very talented Emily Sprague, Florist released their debut album The Birds Sang Outside on Jan. 22. Sprague began writing and recording the album after she suffered a severe biking accident, leaving her essentially bedridden. With a broken neck and arm, Sprague has found strength in writing. Her mastery of poetic lyricism has not gone unnoticed; Florist was recently named a Stereogum “band to watch.”
The album is a journey told from the perspective of a woman healing from deep pain, both physical and emotional. The members of Florist, Emily Sprague, Rick Spataro, Jonnie Baker and Felix Walworth, arranged the album in a unique way as some of the tracks are the full band, while others are just Emily.
Certain tracks off the album are clearly personal and painfully lonely, while other parts are full of rejoice and optimism. Sprague explains “it’s one part a personal, autobiographical, and almost completely chronological telling of a time in my life full of confusion, physical + emotional pain, loneliness, and hope. It is another part a rebirth of a musical friendship between my best friends in the whole world, and an attempt to highlight the importance of love and the things in life that give you something special to hold on to, to find a calm that can carry you through being alive and being scared.”
It is not so much that I enjoyed the soft vocals, but more the message behind the album. However, the message was never the same. The project is completely compelling and each time I listened, I heard something new and I felt a new way about it. Florist throws everything into this creative and deeply private album.
On the track “A Hospital + Crucifix Made of Plastic,” Sprague hauntingly purrs “I am weightless; I am bone” over and over. It really is quite moving. At moments, the album felt so intimate, so personal. I felt like I was reading her diary. The fifth track, “Thank You” is Emily poetically reading to the listener with light noise behind her.
I am not going to tell you which tracks I found to be the highlights of the album, as I normally would in a review. I truly believe that with this album some tracks will connect more with the individual than others, and they might not be the tracks I pick out. Instead, I will share which tracks Emily recorded alone and which she recorded with the band, which lends an idea toward the general theme of the song:
tracks 1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11 recorded by emily sprague
tracks 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 arranged and recorded by emily sprague, rick spataro, jonnie baker, and felix walworth