Flock of Dimes: Head of Roses (Sub Pop) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Flock of Dimes

Head of Roses

Sub Pop

Mar 31, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Maturity isn’t a particularly exciting word; neither are introspection and accountability for that matter, but Head of Roses—Jenn Wasner’s second full-length album as Flock of Dimes—is colored by those elevated hues. Most of the songs here were written in the aftermath of the dissolution of a relationship. While not a unique topic, Wasner’s approach jettisons the rawness and anger in favor of a more reflective and spiritual approach as the album progresses.

Recorded in Sylvan Esso’s North Carolina studio, Wasner is joined by Sylvan Esso’s Nick Sanborn and his machines, Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy on guitar, and Matt McCaughan on drums. Wasner (also the singer in Wye Oak) is no stranger to collaboration and describes co-producing the album with Sanborn as constructing a mixtape. Disparate approaches are prevalent at the album’s open. First track “2 Heads” has the electronic spark and tension of Sylvan Esso’s own album opener, “Song,” while the succeeding “Price of Blue” arcs into the most caustic and guitar-driven track on the album.

By the time of the fourth track, “Hard Way,” the album yields to a folkier and softer approach to the end and is better for the consistency. “Hard Way” echoes the ebb and flow of Stephen Foster’s oft-covered “Hard Times,” and points to songs focused on melody and message. “Walking” is lyric-focused, where “One More Hour” is more layered and lush while allowing Wasner’s unparalleled voice to take center stage. “Awake for the Sunrise” evidences the ache and weariness of the moment that inspired it, while the closing elegy of the title track is heartrending in its spare, piano-driven directness.

Breaking up may be hard to do, but growing up is even harder. Wasner’s command of grace for herself and others ultimately becomes a source of soothing as Head of Roses unfolds. Layers push aside to reveal a core scented with forgiveness and healing. Flock of Dimes has become the vehicle for Wasner’s most personal reflections, which makes it the one to treasure most. (www.flockofdimes.com)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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