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Fruit & Flowers - "Drug Tax" EP review

Last year, I went to see a band called Fruit & Flowers and missed them. The rest of the show was fine. Luckily, I was able to secure a copy of the band's EP, Drug Tax, on CD before heading out into the chilly night.

The cover art for Drug Tax is a fiery swirl of a flower. It's basic with excellent composition, the petals drawing the viewer into the enclosed text. The trapping, enclosing nature of this vivid flora also beckons for a listen.

Drug Tax starts with the eerie "Out of Touch". Before the chorus, the song feels like the mysterious touch of fabric that you didn't know was there, something like sitting in front of a curtain that moves suddenly. The chorus builds the song up with a perilous gloom of lost love. All the instruments sound great, especially the fuzz bass. "Subway Surfer" is a faster song, a weird fantasy exposing the disconnect of city life. It could be a Godard movie. "Dark Surf" comes in very dark indeed, a spooky riff off the side of the night. Strangely, this song seems sort of positive lyrically, though I'm not really sure what it is about.

The second side of Drug Tax opens with the hard-rockin' "Down Down Down". I like the dramatic plunge at the end of each chorus, and the guitar solo at the end of the song is awesome! Also, check out the Stooges-esque bassline. "Pick Fairy" does another hard-rock thing. This is the weakest song, but it isn't bad. It retreads the last song a bit. The solo does sound really sick, though! The title track, "Drug Tax", is the last one here. The instrumentals sound so snotty and prickly. The backing vocals remind me a lot of Vivian Girls. I love the "hey!" and the stark chorus. There's a really amazing tiny guitar section, and the noisy solos are really cool.

Drug Tax does a good job of transporting the listener into a dark under-land for a short period of time. It's enough that I want to hear more; it doesn't go overboard with excess. The songs are short and punchy, the production top-notch (not pointlessly muddy fake lo-fi) with great sounds all around. Drug Tax receives a Good.