Flo & SpiceyRoyaltea Records
Flo & Spicey's Tea Set
Released: 16th November 2018
|LP||£11.99||Buy Now||In Stock. Dispatched on Monday.|
Like any modern, urban landscape Glasgow’s bombardment of images, people, smells, ideas and histories distorts the citizen’s worldview. The city where tanks were deployed in the main square to combat communism, chronic addiction issues run rampant through tower blocks while nowadays, a swelling tide of gentrification laps at the shores of tradition. It’s always been a radical city, where noise and screaming feedback, whether from amps or shipyards, fuses with the intoxicating Tennent’s brewery smog. It can be an overpowering place and its people are frequently shepherded between joys and miseries, frustrations and ecstasies.
The music scene, parasitically grooming the city like a suckerfish, ingests all this sensory overload. It comes out the other end and stays in the air. Like any other economy, there are movers and shakers in the underground, some rise to the top through the gift of the patter, the chutzpah, some connect with upper echelons of the industry and move on out to suffocate further in London. Some stew quietly away in dark corners, developing their own musical language, in time producing something unique and otherworldly. Flo + Spicey are the produce of this process, two cracked individuals who’ve operated on the periphery of the Glasgow music scene for over 20 years between them, with a dash of Stockholm's aggressive order to keep things weird. Spicey is a hermitic figure, an outsider who’s discreetly supported the scene through guerrilla postering and fronting local leg-ends The Gummy Stumps (among myriad other projects) while Flo is an enigma, shadowy but possessing a seductive, deadpan vocal. Flo + Spicey’s Tea Set is a genuinely weird pop album that ticks many outsider tropes while, in its use of both collage cut-up techniques and detoured Rock Music assets, managing to perfectly approximate The Residents covering Broadcast.
Completely self-released, self-produced and self-distributed this album is the perfect example of why we in Monorail do what we do.. something genuinely off the radar that deserves the harsh light of day shone upon it. Flo + Spicey’s Tea Set is the soundtrack to a private fantasy world informed by the beauty, perversion and ugliness of the city it was created in. Adult Single opens, an expertly rendered collage pop piece with palm muted spy-film guitar motif snaking over a mysterious backing with Flo’s suggestive lyric hovering. The techniques at play here recall everything from People Like Us’s use of the surreal, with film dialogue clashing against effects-laden synth samples against some truly fruity loops: Sucking In The Sun is a perfect example, with a short sample of a loping band smothered by Flo’s pronouncements. The album begins to reveal its true intentions however: on Kitchen Sunk the subtle madness of suburban imprisonment is depicted as a surreal alternative universe, a bored housewife trapped in the amber of suffocating societal expectation, dreaming of adventure. You can feel the societal imprinting peeling off like old skin. Like the best figment of Freud’s fevered imagination, Flo + Spicey’s music is ridden with sublimated, sometimes barely obscured, sexual frustration and desires. The delicious, suburban ennui of Kiss Kick is injected by a mantra that could have been lifted from a Residents radioplay, and on Sex Excerp things become as explicit as they can be. Like the frontman of a horny Ghost Box group, a male voice (Spicey?) shouts his needs into the void punctuated by samples of orgasm and public information announcements. Its the sleazy underbelly to the effortless, melodic pay off of tracks like Out Of My Mind, a song steeped in exotica and 60s pop music.
Side B jumps into the deep. Psycho-sexual nightmares are brought kicking and screaming into the daylight, with Wahwah using cut-up loop techniques to play against Flo’s delivery… the effect is surreal and kitch while remaining distinctly unsettling, lulling the listener into a hypnotic state with repetition. Tea Suite at the centre of the side is a droning, dubbed-out track that sounds like Silver Apples joined by Michael Yonkers on guitar, peppered with odd samples and Flo intoning orders. It’s a track that has more of a linear structure to much of the more loop-based work elsewhere, with a singular stomping drumbeat the backbone for studio experimentation. Soon, the album descends into negative space, with psychedelic guitar tropes and monotonic timbres inducing deep states of ecstasy and dread. The piece soon dissipates into Sweets Splits, the riotous closer that most closely approximates a rock group. It’s a garage slammer, with larger-than-the-earth guitar riffs and echo-laden effects breaking down to reveal the secret weapon at the heart of much of Flo + Spicey’s music: a playful ability to parody both pop and avant garde music that creates something truly memorable.