I was born in northern Florida and spent the first years of my life breathing humid air that stuck to my fresh skin. I remember coming out of an air-conditioned grocery store and being hit by an impenetrable wall of moisture and heat. I remember cars being too hot to touch and beach sand burning the bare soles of my small feet.
These memories are a significant part of what moulded who I am. They trigger a deep sense of nostalgia and longing for home. Raw Flowers album “No Time Like the Present” had a similar effect. It took me back to a time when rock songs could be built over a single riff and singers embodied primal swagger. In many ways, it feels like home.
Other than knowing that Raw Flowers are an ass-kicking rock band from the Netherlands I know nothing about them. All the press and interviews I could find about this band were in Dutch and though a colleague at For The Love Of Bands offered to translate for me from I declined. Rock music is a visceral genre that needs to be felt rather than understood. The singer’s invocation of Jim Morrison to the notable John Entwistle style bass playing this album is pure rock. From the Marty Robbins western-tinged “The Duel” to the swampy sing a long dirge of “Blue Stained Brother” these are songs undiluted by programmed drums and synth pads. They are a perfect balance of sincerity and classic rock n roll affectation. “No Time Like the Present” channels a current that bled from the deep grooves of 1970’s vinyl and 8-track decks in the wide consoles of V-8 muscle cars.
The production on this album is raw enough to let the grit show through. The opening song “Good Night and Good Luck” kicks in hard and sets the tone. The vocals rise above a guitar sound that’s reminiscent of Matthew Sweet in his prime “100% Fun” period. It’s dirty and steady with the perfect amount of sleaze. The solo in “Light Of Life” stays suspended like the light it’s describing.
This band writes solid no mess songs and each one is filled with rock n roll archetypical imagery. They aren’t trying to prove anything or reinvent the genre. Raw Flowers just wants to pull out the stops and kick out the jams and that they do with pure abandon.
Bruce Wilson was born in the American south and after innumerable global relocations he now resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. Bruce grew up listening to his parents’ copy of The Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat and quickly moved on to The Stooges, David Bowie, and The Dead Boys. These days he is a writer and sings for the Vancouver based band “Sunday Morning” who released their epymonious debut album in early 2017. He’d like to have a dog but his apartment is too small.