Little Kid’s fourth album Flowers is coated with a floury powder. It’s the same fuzz that blanketed your favourite VHS tape as a kid, forcing you to press the tracking button – which never did anything anyway. It’s the must that clung to the nativity costumes dragged out every year by the youth minister. It’s the dust that coated every surface of your grandparents’ house, where you went every Sunday night.
More often than not, an electric guitar is the primary weapon for fuzzy bands but Flowers is entirely free of electric guitars. Frontman Kenny Boothby wields a classical guitar throughout the record, manipulating it to be the tender or tough instrument where needed. In “Nothing That is Was Ever Meant to Be” the nylon strings are pummelled and at times, alongside the backing drums/keys/bass combo from Broderick Germain and Paul Vroom, overpower a frustrated Boothby. He only lets up for a brief moment at the peak of the song to let us know the reason for his anger: “sweet jesus damn me how I’d become so unfeeling? / when you choose to leave me you don’t need to list your reasons.”
The expansive “Missionary” is another goldmine of sonic manipulation. The steady guitar plucking anchors the track as the additional instrumentation grows louder. At about the halfway mark, Boothby begins the agitated repetition of “missionless in missionary” which lasts minutes before it gets overtaken by cacophony. By then, this repetition has turned into a startling plea for resolution and religious affirmation.
Flowers is a thoughtful and spiritual record and Little Kid’s seeking of resolution happens throughout. The tender opener “Bastard” is about navigating your way through the expectations given at birth, “Method Comedian,” is about finding forgiveness, and “The Joke You Told” is about finding some release from the pain. All parts of a journey towards self-discovery.
Clutched in the sweaty hand of this Little Kid are Flowers. Like those that a child would offer a parent, these flowers are wild. They are ragged and crumpled. Some are missing petals and have some have gone to seed. It’s an assorted heavenly host and it’s beautiful.
Top Tracks: “Bastard”; “Method Comedian”; “Missionary”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)