Silk Flowers – Ltd. Form

written by: April 28, 2011
Release Date: February 8, 2011


Silk Flowers have produced something that fits their moniker well—music that’s beautiful and smooth, but is ultimately artificial. For this New York City-based trio, like so many other electronic acts up and coming in recent years, the 1990s never happened, and while a departure from the previously ubiquitous grunge guitar base is welcome, too much of a good thing can still be … too much of a good thing.

Listener ears will hear electronic keyboards, drums and synthesizers that echo early Speak and Spell era Depeche Mode, with the occasional droll bass vocal a la post-punk pioneers Joy Division or more conventional indie rockers The National. There’s no question Silk Flowers come from the same florist that stocks groups like New Wave Mark Two groups Cold Cave, glitch-pop provacatuers Isolee, or goth cut-out bin denizens Black Tape For A Blue Girl.

In addition, they certainly bear the electronic imprint of Post Present Medium label affiliation and their labelmates Abe Vigoda, and on sophomore effort Ltd. Form, they have assistance crafting their sound from Amanda “MNDR” Warner of Oakland group Triangle, who has collaborated with Safety Scissors and Mark Ronson.

But a pedigree can only get a group so far, and the record must stand or fall on the strength of its compositions and whether the melodies are compelling and memorable.

“Small Fortune,” one of the many instrumentals, embraces the worst prog-rock impulses of Pink Floyd and Tales from Topographic Oceans-era Yes, although at the beginning, the listener could be forgiven for thinking they are listening to a John Waite record.

On track four—“Fruit of the Vine,” frontman Aviram Cohen channels Mark Edwards to produce an electro-pop version of pre-emo janglers My Dad Is Dead, but ends up sounding more like Orchestral Manouevers In The Dark:

Be careful what you wish for/You just might get it/And even when the getting’s good/You may regret it. Regret it, indeed.

Throughout there are some enjoyable melodies, but at the end of these nine cuts, there’s really nothing new here—maybe that’s the reason for titling the record Ltd. Form. Silk Flowers are honest about the framework they are embracing to craft this record, at least. But for the most part, it’s like listening to early 80s TV and movie soundtrack music (Jan Hammer’s “Miami Vice” theme and Harold Faltermeyer’s “Beverly Hills Cop” music spring to mind, or even the Fixx’s “Deeper and Deeper” from “Streets of Fire” soundtrack, minus the dark, lattice-work rhythms) especially on the lite-rock wannabe “Small Fortune.” “Frozen Moments” makes one wonder if  Sarah Connor might throw Ltd. Form on for a quiet evening at home with her roommate’s iguana before tripping some lights fantastic at Tech-Noir. One can’t help wondering if, rather than listening to Ltd. Form, it would be just as easy to dust off the 7-inch single of “Space Age Love Song” by A Flock of Seagulls and take that for a spin. Can the skinny ties, parachute pants and ridiculous hair-dos be far behind? God forbid.

Silk Flowers – Ltd. Form Tracklist:

  1. “Chance”
  2. “Frozen Moments”
  3. “Covered Lamp”
  4. “Fruit of the Vine”
  5. “Small Fortune”
  6. “Band of Color”
  7. “Present Dreams”
  8. “Thin Air”
  9. “A Brush Through The Dust”