Flowertruck are the easy, breezy, beautiful sweethearts of Sydney’s Inner West. They play a catchy brand of indie pop that leans into the hooks hard and dials the sunshine up to 11.
Their debut album Mostly Sunny is therefore very aptly titled.
Stacked with an overwhelming number of good vibes, Flowertruck’s debut album Mostly Sunny serves a noble purpose; to charm you off your feet.
When I first came across Flowertruck’s video clips I was completely won over. Their aesthetic is a throwback to what many think of as a more simple time; all washed out technicolour nostalgia and silly charm. I first remarked, in a rather offhanded manner, that they are kind of like The Wiggles for the discerning rock fan. That flippant comparison, while obviously imperfect, is illuminating in a few important ways.
Flowertruck want to give you a buzz. They want you to throw anxiety and caution to the wind and have fun. If you start moving your feet and feel a wave of positivity sweep over you, rest assured that it was by design.
In bursts, it is undeniable and hints at how well their material translates to a live context.
Yet over the course of their new album this specific focus starts to feel relentless, and at times kitsch. Even when the sentiment of the songs grow more melancholy, the band seems to push back the other way.
Lead single Enough For Now is a great introduction to the album and demonstrates exactly what the band have to offer. The gentle guitar runs recall the dreamy atmosphere of Real Estate in full flight. It’s infectious and full of the kind of hooks that demand head bobbing servitude. However, the streak of pathos that runs throughout the song, the feeling of inadequacy, is never able to push its way to the fore. If that sentiment were only just better supported by the music, the emotional pay-off of the song would feel more cathartic and powerful.
Dying To Hear, originally released in 2017 as a single, manages this better. The emotional core of the song remains intact, the melodies and music lending themselves to the lyrical themes that singer Charles Rushforth brilliantly intones.
It may be worth pointing out that the song seems in homage to cult Australian band The Triffids’ Trick Of The Light. The two songs share similar keyboard melodies and throbbing bass, and when Rushforth sings what sounds like “is it a trick of the light or is it plain to see”, the reference appears both intended and inspired. It’s a quiet moment that suggests exactly where Flowertruck are coming from.
Indeed, the quieter moments moments on Mostly Sunny prove the most memorable. The faster songs that draw more heavily from punk and rock, while competent, obscure the most promising and unique aspects of Flowertruck.
Dobson’s melodic guitar lines work best when given space to reverberate. Ditto to Rushforth’s captivating quintessentially Australian voice that, when slowed down and stretched, takes on a beautifully raw timbre. All My Girlfriends Are Zeppelins is all the proof needed to demonstrate how compelling these two elements can be when placed centre stage.
Flowertruck really are starting to piece together an identity for themselves that’s both accessible and full of character. Mostly Sunny is an infectious, hook laden and wonderfully lush debut that hints at a promising future for the band. However, there is an emotional undercurrent to their best songs that that could be better represented.
It’s kind of an old cliché, one I’m sure we’ve all been reminded of by our grandparents time and time again. But in this context I am convinced it is true; the sunshine is best experienced alongside some shade.
Mostly Sunny is out March 16 on Spunk Records.
Catch Flowertruck live:
Fri 6 April – The Workers Club, Melbourne
Sat 7 April – By The Meadow, Bamba
Fri 13 April – The Basement, Nambour
Sat 14 April – The Foundry, Brisbane
Sun 15 April – North Gong Hotel, Wollongong
Sat 28 April – The Lansdowne, Sydney