ALBUM REVIEW: BIG|BRAVE – A Chaos Of Flowers


Hot on the heels of 2023’s excellent Nature Morte, experimental doomgazers BIG|BRAVE release their sixth full-length record, A Chaos Of Flowers (Thrill Jockey Records).

Two albums in as many years suggests a fruitful period of creativity, and when listening to this new record, it’s clear to see why the Canadian three-piece were keen not to hang around in sharing the fruits of their labour with the world … as this is great stuff!

It’s also wholly unique, and you will not have heard anything quite like this before, as BIG|BRAVE continue to evolve and experiment with their sound on each release. Opening with “I Felt A Funeral”, the band ease us in with a soft intro and the ethereal folk-like vocals of singer/guitarist Robin Wattie. The song slowly builds with a distorted guitar dropping around one minute in, adding a cinematic Western vibe, before a thundering bass eventually enters the fray providing a plodding dream-like quality.

On “Not Speaking Of The Ways”, all of the instruments immediately drop in together, and the song is low-tuned, slow and lazy sounding with a deeply mesmerising rhythm. There is a cool echo effect on the angelic sounding vocals, which beautifully contrast with the stabbing distortion, before a final isolated clean guitar once again introduces a Western/folk flavour. Wattie sings entirely in French on “Chanson Pour Mon Ombre”, initially over a Flamenco slide guitar and twinkling background drone. Before BIG|BRAVE once again eloquently build the song with the intro of bass, clattering drums and the sporadic guitar becoming more frequent and avantgarde. “Canon : In Canon” provides a haunting beauty that sweeps you away into an intoxicating haze, the musical equivalent of becoming lost in a plume of smoke.

With “Theft”, twisting contorted guitars echo across the low-slung bass while gentle percussive highs keep the rhythm of the song, while on “Moonset” a softly strumming guitar brings back the Western tone, seemingly a constant theme and cinematic influence across the record. There is a loose and improvisational feel throughout, specifically with the drumming, while Wattie’s vocals will naturally draw comparison with the likes of Chelsea Wolfe and Julie Christmas – while she also channels a soulful croon similar to Beth Gibbons of Portishead at times.

A Chaos Of Flowers is ambitious, beautifully crafted … and a class act from start to finish.

Buy the album here:
https://bigbrave.bandcamp.com/album/a-chaos-of-flowers

 

8 / 10
ABSTRAKT_SOUL