Flowers Must Die: Kompost (Rocket Recordings)

The Swedish six-piece attempt to update the kraut-rock template, but without much inspiration on show it's a bit of a trudge...

Released May 4th, 2017 via Rocket Recordings / By Ben Wood
Flowers Must Die: Kompost (Rocket Recordings) The late '60s and early '70s kraut- and stoner-rock scene casts a long shadow at present. The highbrow likes of Can and Neu, and the gnarlier excesses of Hawkwind, have inspired a whole host of acts with their drug-soaked grooves and mantric repetition.

Sweden's Flowers Must Die are such kraut-heads that they named themselves after an Ash Ra Tempel song. However, while many of the finest bands of the era carved out a distinctive sound for themselves (Gong's light-hearted jazzy playfulness, Can's funky polyrhythmic meditations), their debut album Kompost is heavier going.

Too many cuts are either droney noise-by -numbers (opener Kalla Till Ovisshet, Hey Ja) or numbed-out 'into the abyss' noodle-fests that spend too much time going nowhere.

Things look up whenever the murky claustrophobic feel relents and some light and shade are introduced. The chunky, funky, sax-assisted After Gong is pretty groovy. And the big bass groove and vocal hook of Don't You Leave Me Now are the closest the album comes to a pop song (much of the rest of the time, singer Lisa Ekelund's vocals are used as another instrument).

The lighter feel of Hit and the Mogadon flute-topped groove of eighth minute epic Why? also have their moments. But even at its best, Kompost is listenable rather than inspired.

Maybe context is all. On a sober midweek evening, the album's somewhat humourless and one-paced wallowing in drug psychosis is a tad depressing. At three on a Saturday morning at Liverpool Psych Fest with a head full of mushrooms and a blistering light show it might be a different proposition.