Album Review: Corey Flood – ‘Hanging Garden’

Posted: by The Editor

Hanging Garden, the debut album from Philadelphia trio Corey Flood, is filled with immediately memorable hooks and lines. The group, composed of bassist Ivy Gray-Klein, guitarist Em Boltz, and drummer Juliette Rando, seem overwhelmingly adept at creating buoyant, fizzy rock songs that sound fresh and familiar. At just over twenty minutes, Garden is fleeting but makes plenty of impact on the listener. Its brevity lends itself to repeat listens and ensures those who throw it on really hear everything they’ve put into it. The band’s influences are evident; the pop sensibilities of someone like Liz Phair, or the inclination towards the variable melody of a band like Helium, permeate every aspect of Garden. Some moments even call to mind their Fire Talk labelmates, Dehd. 

The record’s opener and lead single “Heaven Or” is a light, frothy tune. Everything about it, from the grooving bass line to the vocal performance, seems like it’s floating all around you. It’s a melody that doesn’t leave you, and despite its sweetness, never touches on cloying. The moodier “Down the Hill” pushes the preceding honeyed warmth away for a moment. It’s a pulsing post-punk song, complete with artful lyrics delivered in charming deadpan. I’ve been thinking about the performance of the line “there is no shame in humility / hanging garden / nineteenth-century” since the first time I heard it. Boltz takes the vocal on this one and said of the track that they wanted it to capture the mood of certain memories full of ethereal sunshine. The production choices here help carve out chances for that light to shine through the darker mood. This tendency towards darker, intense sounds is rare on the record, but does peak just a few songs later on the excellent “Honey.” There is no moment more suited to finally pushing the sound towards fuzzy shoegaze than after teasing it for a few songs, and when it hits, it’s so satisfying. 

The album’s closer “Poppies” lets you know it’s going to be incredible in the first few seconds. From the skittering drums, the simmering bass, and the quiet, charged power of guitars ready to bolt forward, the band takes its time. It’s not till the first chorus where these interlocked elements are finally unleashed, free to smash into one another in controlled chaos. This release is brief but affecting, as a microcosm of the record as a whole. Corey Flood seems primed to take over in the next few years, likely to be the kind of band everyone wants on their tour when those someday resume. They’ve already caught the eye of established acts, like fellow Philadelphians Mannequin Pussy, and as word of Garden grows so will their inevitable fanbase. 

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Eric Bennett | @seething_coast

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