By Anna Hennigan
The Birds Outside Sang is the first full length album of Florist — “a friendship project born in the Catskill Mountains” — that’s currently based out of Brooklyn. Emily Sprague, the group’s main songwriter, excels at condensing stories into just a line or two: in song “1914,” she sings “Eyes just like a skyline even when they're wet and the window is/ foggy and the window has a tint.” On The Birds Outside Sang she’s telling the story of her life after surviving a bike accident that left her with a broken neck and a badly-broken arm. The Catskills play a major role in this album: in subject matter, atmosphere, and their folky influence on Sprague’s ability to weave lyrical stories with simple compelling melodies. Ultimately, The Birds Outside Sang is about the desire to hold onto golden light and birdsong in a physical world of blood and bones.
Sprague alone could not create Florist’s full-bodied sound which is able to transcend bare bedroom pop and become something new with melodies and harmonies that meld like dreams. Also integral to Florist are members Rich Spataro, Jonnie Baker, and Felix Walworth, each of whom brought their own sound to Florist: Spataro and Baker from the Albany music scene and Felix Walworth from his time playing in Brooklyn and his experience as front man of Told Slant. Their influence can be heard most clearly on tracks which Sprague originally recorded mostly solo: “1914,” “White Doorway,” and “I Was” and then polished and rereleased on The Birds Outside Sang. The songs do their lyrics justice, creating a complex atmosphere in which Sprague’s lyrics can resonate and evoke more strongly her memories and desires.
Florist is also part of a Brooklyn DIY collective, The Epoch, which includes musicians, writers, visual artists, filmmakers, and others. As part of the collective, members of Florist are also involved with helping to arrange, record, and mix other projects such as Eskimeaux’s new EP Year of the Rabbit.
The Birds Outside Sang is out on Double Double Whammy, a record company based out of the Silent Barn in Brooklyn where Florist will be performing on April 15. Stream Florist's new album on Bandcamp.