It’s hard to classify The Cellophane Flowers. A bit indie and a bit pop, their quirky sound has a dark streak running through it; a dirty underside to the shiny, jangly guitars it flaunts so happily on the surface. Staring at the World, the London four-piece’s debut long player, is an enigmatic album: it’s a little unhinged, and from that unpredictability stems excitement and wonder. Melodic guitar lines and unexpected harmonica riffs are blended with pulsing drums and often-bleak synth-scapes to create a wonderfully eclectic, but altogether coherent, sound.
Opener Voices is atmospheric and foreboding: a big chorus nestles amongst the stripped back verses, Carradini’s voice intertwining with the guitars over waves of synth. It’s an engaging first track, which draws you into the album from the off. As the album continues, the drama increases: The Promise’s driving swagger counteracted by the 60s pop of Pendulum Eyes, the gentle Tears of a Clown offset by the raucous Time. Final track In A Hole is a tender goodbye, and a fitting send-off for the album: short and perfectly formed, its gorgeous layers of synth and delicate fingerpicked guitars maintain that air of mystery right to the very last note.
Throughout the album, lead singer Francesca Carradini’s vocals are strong and distinctive. It would be easy to compare them to the likes of Kyla La Grange or The Jezabels’ Hayley Mary, but there’s something a bit different here; a fragility buried deep within the power that seeps out and permeates each and every song.
It’s no secret to any listener that The Cellophane Flowers wear their influences on their sleeves: hints of The Cure and Siousxie and the Banshees can be found sprinkled throughout each track. No song on the album, however, feels derivative; rather, they come across as a fresh look at a much-loved genre.
Staring at the World, then, is a blissfully enjoyable record: one that seems written to be listened to on a bleak, frosty winter morning, and one that is sure to soon be a welcome addition to many record collections around the country.
Staring at the World by The Cellophane Flowers is out on the 3rd of December and is available only as a download.