Florist‘s soft synth-folk has a distinct air of rural familiarity and loneliness that sounds like it could only come from a picturesque mountain locale. The project of songwriter Emily Sprague and friends, Florist first crossed the airwaves from the Catskill Mountains with 2013 EP Living Alone, and they’ve woven themselves deeply into our hearts ever since. If Blue Could Be Happiness, the band’s second full-length, releases Friday via Double Double Whammy, but an early stream is available for us to listen to right now. Florist, currently on the road in the midst of an extensive US tour, will make a stop at Boot & Saddle on Oct. 25 with Hello Shark.
Florist’s light and lilting tunes would be perfect on a crisp fall day; they also sounded pretty great on the odd 90 degree Philly weather we had this week. If Blue Could Be Happiness is an album you’ll want to keep on rotation throughout the season — the album’s 10 tracks are perfect for solitary reflection in any weather. It’s the kind of album I can see myself listening to while walking through crunchy leaves or curled up with a blanket (or holed up in the air conditioning like I am now). And while Florist’s soft sounds and intricate lyrics beg a quiet solo listen, it’s also the kind of music that makes you want to find the nearest friend and share it with them, almost like you’re letting someone in on a well-kept secret.
Florist won’t stay a secret for long though, having drawn high praise from alt-country faves Pinegrove, who they’re currently touring with. And though the two bands are sonically pretty different, their comparisons don’t end at their friendship — Florist’s personal and introspective tunes, full of sensory references and nods to color and nature, elicit a similar emotional vulnerability and visual resonance that’s sure to strike a chord with listeners. Album standout “What I Wanted to Hold,” the heartstring-tugging lead single we shared with you over the summer, dwells in color and light — Sprague creates a beautiful and delicate world of her own with lyrics like “What is love if not Violet / a beam of light on an Autumn afternoon / that slowly fades to Blue.”
Sandwiched in the middle of the album, “Glowing Brightly” is a quicker-tempo contemplation on sense of place, the John Denver-esque line “Catskill mountains, I will always come back to you” cementing us in the songwriter’s own memories. Memories come into even sharper focus on the title track, which fits the album’s theme of loss — written as a farewell to Sprague’s mother in light of her unexpected passing and a celebration of her life. “If blue could be happiness then that’s all I want,” Sprague repeats, steeped melancholy but nevertheless filled with hope. Album closer “Red Bird” remains in demo form, a reminder of how life is always in progress, changing in ways beyond our control — a grounding moment in an album born from memories and dreams.
Listen to If Blue Could Be Happiness in full via Hype Machine below, and find tickets and more information on the Boot & Saddle show on the XPN Concert Calendar.
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