After three exquisitely crafted single releases in ‘Night Drive’ and ‘Day by Day’ and ‘Within a Dream’, Preston’s White Flowers finally release their debut album, Day by Day.
White Flowers is made up of Katie Drew and Joey Cobb who together weave the most wonderful soundscapes blending post-punk, goth, dreampop and shoegaze in their own unique way. The atmosphere created across these ten tracks is one of sheer escapism and finding wonder in the everyday. The band take pride is keeping tight creative control over the band’s aesthetic. From the black and white imagery on the cover of their records to the striking visuals at their live shows. This commitment to their craft has led to them producing one of 2021’s most cohesive and accomplished albums. Let me explain why.
The album opens on the appropriately titled “Intro”. Very much setting the mood and sonic palette for the album it’s a short and breathy burst before we are into “Night Drive”.
Those of you familiar with the band will know this as the lead track on their 2020 single. They really have captured the oppressive and paranoid feel of a late-night drive. I can picture myself on a rainy motorway as I listen.
As if flipping to the opposite side of the coin “Daylight” shimmers and sounds like starlight on a rain-soaked pavement. The arpeggio guitar line is just gorgeous, as is Drews vocal. Passionate and committed. You can’t help but stop what you are doing and pay attention.
“Stars” is a stunning slice of Cocteau Twins like, song writing. The ever-moving guitars play against a heavy programmed drum loop that sounds like something from “Head Over Heels”. It’s a potent track that is equal parts intoxicating and moving.
“Tried to Call” is such a romantic slice of dream pop belying the tragic love story being told. Breathy vocals float over the most spacious guitars and echoing drums. The chorus just grabs you as it lifts and soars. I can see this becoming a big fan favourite.
Following is my album highlight and the oldest track on the album. “Help Me Help Myself” is song writing on a grand scale. From the gentle back and forth of the verses to the stratospheric lift in the chorus this is undoubtedly Drews finest vocal performance on the album and Cobb’s most breath-taking soundtrack.
“Day by Day” their debut single for Tough Love Recordings is up next. A gloriously bleak lyric plays out against a bombastic backdrop of chiming synths and guitars on the edge of feedback. This is truly a northern song.
“Different Time, Different Place” hangs a silvery, gossamer backdrop over a steady and surefooted bassline. As with so many of the tracks on this album there is a theme of being in cars. I love the pre chorus line of “In the summer we are driving in the back of someone’s car”. Such an evocative line which leads to gorgeously sung title.
I was so excited to hear “Portra” as I had missed on grabbing the single at the time. I was also intrigued by the title as I had grown up with a photographer in the house and often seen Kodak Portra film lying about. On face value this song appears to be about a trip. The woozy, out of focus guitars and seductive nature of the lyrics all add up to very heady mix. Thankfully it’s a very pleasant trip we are taken on with “colours everywhere”.
The album closes where we began, at night. “Nightfall” starts a lot more sparsely arranged than the rest of the album. Slowly Cobb weaves in pulsing drums and more guitars before reaching a crescendo. This plays well as the finale.
White Flowers have crafted a debut album that is indelibly stamped with their identity, with the shadows of their upbringing in the north of England. Every note has been carefully planned and played so as to capture the mood of the lyrics sung by Drew. What I really love about Day By Day is that it instantly won me over yet each time I put the needle on the record I hear something new, feel something different about the songs in those grooves. To achieve that in your career is amazing. To achieve that on your debut? Well, that’s incredibly special.
Day By Day is out now via Tough Love. Alongside digital formats, it has been pressed on a variety of vinyl variants. The blue vinyl variant is currently available from their Bandcamp page.