PREMIERE: Florida BC unleash an dark folk-rock riddle on ‘Salt Breaker Sand’

On their latest album, Florida BC have crafted a guide that is impossible to understand but easy to read. It is a universe of meaning trapped inside the four walls of your home; burning, nuanced, and brilliant.

Heartbreak, kidnappings, cults, anguish, and resolution. Folk produces many incredible records, but there are very few as detailed, as complex as the latest release from Florida BC. It is almost impossible to place the majesty of Salt Breaker Sand into words because that’s the record’s entire purpose: it is a riddle that’s impossible to solve.

In the most simple terms, it is dark-folk kaleidoscope of pain told by an artist waiting for the dawn. Each song is worlds apart from the other but also intrinsically connected, offering a level of clarity that some artists take years to embrace. Salt Breaker Sand is a formidable beacon for anyone attempting to make sense of the chaos of this world.

florida bc Salt Breaker Sand

Sonic poet Clinton St. John is no stranger to intricate narratives, in fact, he bases his entire creative output around them. There is no topic too big, too grand that he couldn’t melt into melody, Salt Breaker Sand is shining proof. The latest addition to his catalogue, alongside the talents of Jeff Macleod, Carl Davidson, and Morgan Greenwood, the record isn’t just seminal to the band itself, it is a catalyst for every noir folk release to follow it.

Sweeping into its eight-track reign, the record’s opening song Thunder Jesus holds majesty through softly fuzzed guitars. Rich and dark, it is the perfect taster of what is to follow. Enter Blow Wind Blow, a song with enough power to beckon you into the unknown. Slow, sultry, and sweltering, the frontman’s crooning vocals cascade across mountains of melody, to land in the haunting, ethereal valley of Meeting: the record’s first instrumental interlude.

Although brief, this pause allows the perfect refrain for audiences to sink into the world of Salt Breaker Sand. Where Thunder Jesus and Blow Wind Blow painted the scene for us in indigo shades, Meeting pulls us into the canvas: the perfect accompaniment to its successor. Light, synth-driven, and sparkling, Cults opens like the lullaby you had been craving. The song hypnotises you into a daze, casting shadows that hold a familiar comfort. That’s until the bloodthirsty chorus erupts, catching you by surprise. A sonic allegory wrapped up into a folk-adjacent package, the track just highlights the band’s sonic versatility.

This variety is then carried through the next two tracks, Salt Breaker Sand and One, Two, and Three Eyes, each toying with mourning acoustics and blues influences respectively. Although incredibly different, this pair works in tandem. Where one holds soft, longing strides at pace, the other erupts with the record’s most unrelenting ferocity. A calm before the storm and the cardinal conflict, if you will.

“A longstanding tradition for why I became a songwriter is the catharsis that comes from taking this thing, whatever it is, that you don’t have a solution for, and trying to articulate it in an abstract way. It’s just all kinds of different narratives intertwined,” St. John explains about the record.

“Salt Breaker Sand at its broadest focuses on frustration and exhaustion with the powerlessness thrust upon you by the modern world, and at its most specific, provides something eminently worth hearing; a visceral chill-starter of dark folk that remains positive even as it laments its own mysteries.”

Concluding with the immaculate chaos of American, our journey is complete. Florida BC deliver us battered, bruised, but it doesn’t feel painful. In fact, it feels oddly familiar.

On Salt Breaker Sand, Florida BC dismantle our most oppressive fears in view of a city skyline. Glistening in remorse and ambition, it serves as a critique of everything we have known, yet chosen to ignore. What does it mean exactly? Well, that’s for you to figure out.

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