Album Review: flor “Ley Lines”

The Oregon native alternative pop band flor released their sophomore album ley lines today, September 6th, 2019. This album shows a more grown up side of flor that we have not seen previously. The term “ley lines” refers to alignments of landmarks and other man made structures that is believed to be non-accidental and could have spiritual significance. The band stated on their Instagram that this music came from what they call “ley lines” and that they needed to find their “own anchor points for belief an purpose.” This sentiment encapsulates the emotion behind the whole album and proved to be a great theme for this release.

The album opens with “white noise,” and I cannot think of a better track to envelope an audience and prepare them for the album ahead. This track is highlighted by an instrumental breakdown in the middle of the song, and the chorus itself has a very catchy tune. The second track, “as you were,” is a great contrast to “white noise” with a softer opening. The pre-chorus build really hooked me, and Zach’s falsetto on the chorus is ethereal and dreamy. The post-bridge chorus with the guitar plucking stood out the most to me in this track and it musically captures the emotion of the song. Track 3, “slow motion,” was the first single released from the album, highlighted by a very catchy guitar riff that’s guaranteed to get stuck in your head. This song has some of my favorite lyrics that are accompanied by Zach’s unique vocal patterns and diction, which gives the lyrics an auditory weight that I typically don’t experience in other flor songs. It is followed by “ley lines”: the title track of the album that is very bouncy and fully expresses the theme of the album and serves as that anchor point in the album. “dancing around” really highlights Zach’s falsetto and features a sing-songy chorus that is easy for anyone to sing along to and relate to the lyrics. We’ve all been waiting for a time where we feel free enough to dance around again. The instrumental break at the end is the perfect dance break that I cannot wait to experience live.

“listen for you” features dreamy sounds in the background that are very Vampire Weekend-esque. Sonically, this song provides a good break in the album between the upbeat songs. The lyrics are the definition of longing – for love, for peace, for that person that you have lost. This track transitions beautifully into “little light one,” the third single that was released from this album. The track makes more sense in the context of the album than it did for me as a single, it is fun and reminiscent of the flor music that we all know and love. “aiming low” starts with a different tempo and rhythms than we’re used to from flor, but simultaneously reminds me of why I fell in love with the band in the first place. This track features what might be one of my favorite choruses I’ve ever heard from the band. I immediately imagined this track live and the joy that would overcome the crowd. The guitar solo is outstanding and Dylan’s bass line perfectly complements it. “money” was the last single released from this album. The song starts off with a bang featuring a catchy constant guitar riff. One of the things that stood out to me in  this track is Kyle’s drum patterns that drive the song. To me, it is very reminiscent of “spoiled,” a track on their debut album. “money” perfectly transitions into track 10, titled “underpass.” This song quite literally had me dancing in the coffee shop that I sat in while I listened to this album to write the review. Zach’s little scream and vocal effects made me think on the times I have seen them live and the little things that make their show unique. The vocal effects added awesome layers to the chorus, and the “chanty” bridge is super fun. The song ends with a slow and long transition out and into “never was mine.” Kyle’s drums are definitely the driving force of this song. The harmonies on the chorus absolutely stunned me. The best way to describe this track is a quintessential flor track.

“moonday” is the album closer. The lyrics are really introspective and reflective on the nature of love and the freedom that the emotion and the choice possesses. The nature of love is to be free and for it to be your own. It’s not going to look the same for everyone. The guitar riff in the bridge is very anthemic and gives the album a bold close. The last chorus leaves a lasting impression on the listener and genuinely makes me want to hit the repeat button and listen to the album again. I cannot wait to bump this album for the rest of 2019 and continue to dive into the lyrics and motifs in this album.

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