Ella O’Connor Williams presents her debut album under her Squirrel Flower alter ego, a persona she adopted as a child. Having grown up surrounded by music, the 23 year old’s debut album I Was Born Swimming is another gem from the same kind of creative fountainhead that produced Soccer Mommy, Julien Baker and Frankie Cosmos.
Vinyl LP £20.49 FTH366LP
Black vinyl LP on Full Time Hobby.
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CD £12.49 FTH366CD
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Limited Vinyl LP £23.99 FTH366DINK
DINKED EDITION transparent blue vinyl LP + exclusive bonus 7” with two tracks (A: Take It Or Leave It / B: Hold On (Tom Waits cover) and signed postcard. Comes in a hand-numbered sleeve.
- Coloured vinyl
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- Limited edition
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‘I Was Born Swimming’ sounds about what you’d imagine an album with a track called ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ would sound like. Though maybe you and I don’t share the same associations when it comes to SAD, so I will reluctantly elaborate.
Remember Codeine? To my ears they are probably the definitive SAD band. ‘Frigid Stars’ managed to bottle the sound of feeling a bit grim as the temperature drops and the days get shorter. Squirrel Flower’s songs lie in that direction, kind of indie rock by slowcore. They’re slow and sludgy, the passage of time does not feel as smooth as music often makes it feel. Opener ‘I-80’ has an aggressively strummed guitar that would usually signal insistence, but the song is just slow enough that it mostly makes me nervous.
‘Street Light Blues’ is a steady country rock ballad, with some lovely twangy guitars. Squirrel Flower sings that “all my friends are at the party, but I’ve got other plans”, as a triumphant reclamation of loneliness. As the chorus hits, so do the big guitars and the even bigger drums. It’s great.
There are some lighter moments. ‘Honey, Oh Honey’ opens with just guitars and vocals and sees the word “honey” rhymed with just about every word you’d expect. But then the band kicks in and I think Squirrel Flower might one day cause a mosh pit with a song whose lyrics run “honey, oh honey, a little too funny”. But even honey can't escape the gloom that submerges 'I Was Born Swimming.
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