“I’ll wait” Emily Sprauge says, eyeing the boisterous crowd gathered by the bar, waiting for them to quiet before she starts. It’s CMJ, the 6th day, and the crowd has gathered at the Silent Barn for a showcase by the record label Double Double Whammy. I’ve come because Florist has put out a song “Family Vacation” that has become a staple of my commute.
It’s a quiet folk song that wouldn’t sound out of place on the Juno Soundtrack. In it, Sprauge (who is the primary songwriter for the band, who contains members of the collective The Epoch) recounts with sadness how much the little things we valued as children, like “when a swimming pool in a hotel, was a gift from god” become less important in the harsh lights of adulthood. The song is the lead single and first track on their EP Holdly, which at the time was unreleased and yet sitting plainly for sale on the merch table outside. This EP doesn’t hit you over the head with it’s charms, like Emily Sprauge onstage at the Silent Barn, it just waits for you to notice it’s merits.
Like good florists, Sprague and co know how to make the most out of their arrangements. On the second chorus of “Cool and Refreshing” the keys and steady strum of the bass mimic the feeling of floating in the Kaaterskill Creek that Sprauge describes as her oasis. “Unholy” faces pairs the sweet sorrow of a dear person leaving with a yawning wide-open sound that wouldn’t sound out of place in a classic country song. The overall sound is ready-made for nostalgic thinking, fall weather bike rides, and dinners with old friends or family.
It’s not all blissful vibes though. Florists greatest asset is how Sprauge’s lyrics vocalize feelings of anxiety and unrest without the band ever sounding jittery or uneasy. On “Family Vaction” Sprague sings “at least I know that my house won’t burn down down to the ground, but maybe it will.” That admission that everything could burn down is sung over the most comforting swirl of tinkling keys, steadily pciking guitars, and drums that quietly bump along without overpowering Sprauge’s voice. On the next song “Cool and Refreshing” she sings “i’m so terrified of all the things i love i know that i will lose them all one by one” and later sums it up by casually singing “its terrifying It’s totally fine” Indeed, she and the rest of Florist makes the uneasy process of being alive sound totally fine, and it is.
You can by the EP on Florist’s Bandcamp now, or at Double Double Whammy’s new website. If you’re cheap, you can stream it above. Once you do that, check them out on tour with Hello Shark! The dates are below, via The Epoch’s website:
Nov 4 FLORIST, Crowberry House, Akron, OH
Nov 5 FLORIST, Witch House, Grand Rapids, MI
Nov 6 FLORIST, Pinky Swear, Chicago, IL
Nov 7 FLORIST, Lemp, St. Louis, MO
Nov 8 FLORIST, The Bishop, Bloomington, IN
Nov 9 FLORIST, Nashville, TN
Nov 11 FLORIST, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio, Denton, TX
Nov 12 FLORIST, Austin, TX
Nov 13 FLORIST, Sisters in Christ, New Orleans, LA
Nov 15 FLORIST, Savannah, GA
Nov 16 FLORIST, The Masquerade, Atlanta, GA Masquerade
Nov 17 FLORIST, Athens, GA
Nov 18 FLORIST, Duke Coffeehouse, Durham, NC
Nov 19 FLORIST, Songbyrd, Washington, DC
Nov 20 FLORIST, Everybody Hits, Philadelphia, PA