The Flowers of Hell, to release ODES on October 2nd 2012 


“They take orchestral pop to the next level” Rolling Stone
“Stirringly evocative” NME
“They balance stately chamber pop with noise” Pitchfork

Trans-atlantic experimental orchestral group The Flowers of Hell are set to release their fourth album and first ever orch-pop cover record, Odes on October 2nd in Canada/US via Optical Sounds and The Orchard. Known for their non-linear instrumentals, this is the first time The Flowers of Hell will release music featuring lyrics or verse-chorus-verse structures. Their current and past work has established them as an “artist’s artist”, with praise having come from members of My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized, Spacemen 3, The Wedding Present, Death In Vegas, The Patti Smith Group, The Fugs and Laurie Anderson amongst others. Odes features The Flowers’ interpretations of songs written by Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Siouxie & The Banshees, Laurie Anderson, Klaatu, Stereolab, Joy Division, Neutral Milk Hotel, Fleetwood Mac, and the Plastic People Of The Universe. The group will launch the album in Toronto on September 21st at Tranzac.

Today they unveil the animated video for their version of Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’, viewable here. The video brings to life Joy Division’s legendary Unknown Pleasures album cover, which is an image of the electromagnetic pulses emanating from a dying star in the Vulpecula constellation.

Based in Toronto and London, with a revolving membership of 16 or so musicians, the Flowers Of Hell are led by Canadian synaesthette Greg Jarvis who co-produced the album with Peter Moore (John Cale, Neil Young, Cowboy Junkies). The album includes collaborations with Czech dissident musician Ivo Pospíšil, a key member of The Plastic People Of The Universe’s many offshoot groups, as well as British Sea Power’s Neil Wilkinson and Abi Fry (the latter being a founding member of the Flowers Of Hell and a two times Mercury Prize nominee through her past work in BSP and Bat For Lashes).

Odes differs greatly in its tone and direction from previous Flowers’ releases. 2010’s O was an epic 45 minute abstract piece that sought to break beyond traditional songwriting; this time the group do the opposite, celebrating songs as penned by their favourite writers. Each song covered on Odes was selected for a purpose. Jarvis had often wondered what Neutral Milk Hotel’s On Avery Island-April 1st might sound like if played by a classically trained trumpeter. Joy Division’s Atmosphere is a core influence on The Flowers of Hell’s style and it’s been done here with their signature sound. Muchomůrky Bílé (Destroying Angel) is the unofficial anthem of the old Czech dissident movement and one of the original musicians from that scene, Ivo Pospíšil, agreed to do the vocals. With Walk On The Wild Side the group used the lyrics from a rare Lou Reed demo taped before its classic verses were written. On O Superheroin, they celebrate the marriage of Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson buy marrying O Superman and Heroin. Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft was written by 1970s Toronto outsiders Klaatu, with lyrics from a paragraph that the International Flying Saucer Bureau’s global members tried to simultaneously telepath into outer space in 1953.

“Orchestrating things like the 5 key changes in Calling Occupants was a challenge as we don’t use sheet music.” explains Jarvis who has no classical training, His orchestration process is to record multiple layers of improvised performances which are then edited into an arrangement, based on what looks right in his synaesthetic layer of vision. “It’s a tedious process but I think it lets one tap into a string players’ passion much better than notes being read off a page.”

Tracklisting for Odes
1. On Avery Island-April 1st (Neutral Milk Hotel)
2. Atmosphere (Joy Division)
3. Muchomurky Bile / Destroying Angel (Plastic People Of The Universe)

4. Walk On The Wild Side (Lou Reed)
5. Run Run Run (The Velvet Underground)
6. The Last Beat Of My Heart (Siouxie & The Banshees)
7. Mr. Tambourine Man (Bob Dylan)
8. Super Electric (Stereolab)
9. Over And Over (Fleetwood Mac)
10. O Superheroin (Laurie Anderson - Lou Reed)
11. Calling Occupants Of Interplanetary Craft (Klaatu)

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Press release provided by Indoor Recess Inc.  


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