Split Premiere: California Cousins/Floral Patterns

Posted: by The Editor

On paper, California Cousins and Floral Patterns are an unlikely collaboration. California Cousins have spent the last five years in Rochester, NY honing their unique brand of knotty, frenetic emo punk; Floral Patterns abruptly appeared in Portland, OR’s DIY scene in 2019 with a four song EP of emo-inflected screamo, reminiscent of cult heroes Old Gray.

Along with their shared history of emo influence, the bands have one major similarity: they are both deeply underrated. Rochester and Portland both have a history of great DIY bands, as well as a history of these scenes being overlooked. Far from New York City, Rochester sits in the center of the state, distant from common tour routes through the larger East Coast cities. On the opposite coast, there’s a running joke that the best way to succeed as a band in Portland is to move to Philadelphia—a joke reinforced by the recent success of bands like Strange Ranger, who cut their teeth in Portland’s house show scene before moving to Philly.

Rather than relocating, California Cousins and Floral Patterns have instead shifted the focus of their sound, becoming less beholden to their earlier influences. This split finds both bands matching each other’s intensity, pushing their emo-influenced sounds in new directions—a snapshot of two deeply underrated bands making their strongest music to date.

California Cousin’s excellent 2018 full-length Distant Relatives was a natural evolution of their sound that was still surprising for its explosiveness. Their mathy punk became more intricate and punishing; songs like “aspirin” and “7 minutes freestyle” full of moments that bordered on hardcore. The band shifted fluidly between tempos and time signatures without losing the hooks and melodies that placed them a cut above their peers in the emo revival scene. Their half of this split is a revelation. California Cousins have transitioned seamlessly into pure mathy metalcore, jittery riffs cascading across technically astonishing drumming. They have shed the scrappy punk of earlier releases for a sound that pulls more from Dillinger Escape Plan than Dillinger Four. These songs unexpectedly place California Cousins among the hardcore bands who are best at balancing chaos and precision, like The Callous Daoboys or Nuvolascura.

Alternately, the two Floral Patterns songs explore the melodic side of their sound. Their 2019 EP The Time It Takes to Get From Place to Place and How People Change was searing screamo replete with sections of spoken word, sampled movie dialogue, and gorgeous post-rock builds. The raw desperation in the vocals recalls a less self-conscious era of screamo, where feeling was conveyed as directly and viscerally as possible. Since then, the band has been quiet until they announced that they had signed to Brace Cove Records last week. Their side of the split retains the bleeding-heart-bleeding-throat vocals but adds chiming guitars that feel more slowcore than hardcore, a glistening backdrop for the outpouring of aching emotion. “Ted Kennedy Driving School” rides a steady groove that builds in intensity without ramping up the tempo, swirls of feedback rising like smoke from a fire.

The release is a collaboration between Chillwavve Records and Brace Cove Records, who will each be releasing the split on a unique vinyl variant. Both variants can be bundled with a California Cousins/Floral Pattern t-shirt—which, as an editorial aside, is sick as hell and more bands should do split merch.

The split officially releases on 10/15. You can stream it now below.

floral patterns · California Cousins / floral patterns. Split

Keegan Bradford | @franziamom

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