Review: Second Hand Flower Shop - "The Incorporeal Boy"

Second Hand Flower Shop - The Incorporeal Boy
(2013 Self-Released)
"Its mainly acoustic sound is brittle, with a cozy and antiquated feel...rather cartoony but very powerful."
Were I to blindly listen to a few tracks on this album, I'd guess that I was listening to a recently unearthed Elephant 6 Collective demo. Second Hand Flower Shop shares many sonic similarities with staples of the Collective like Neutral Milk Hotel and The Music Tapes; its mainly acoustic sound is brittle, with a cozy and antiquated feel. Though the album's lo-fi quality owes itself to the nineties, much of the songcraft featured on The Incorporeal Boy is rooted in the now. Oscar Boyle's vocals pierce through the ramshackle instrumentation with a surprising strength, a more gentle take on Jeff Magnum's gravelly drawl.

The first track to really grab my attention on The Incorporeal Boy was "Ode to the Friends of Those Who are Dead". Carried by nothing but bouncily played chord organ, the tune's haunting but warm melody seemed to wrap a blanket around my insides. It's rather cartoony, but in a good way, I pictured the music playing as credits rolled in front of a watercolor Parisian cityscape. Though the song's lyrics carry a rather bitter connotation, there's this unshakably lovely vibe that the organ delivers. It's a genuinely powerful track, perhaps even made more powerful due to the conflicting emotions that flow through it. "In My Satin Lined Holiday Room" possesses a similarly cozy aura, adding gentle piano to its twangy pluckings. "Homesick" is another great tune, but it draws from a more intense well of energy, its Smashing Pumpkins-esque chords caked in reverb. Though I found it initially tough to make a emotional connection with The Incorporeal Boy, it has really grown on me over the past couple of days. A stellar effort by another young, up-and-coming musician. If you want a download or tape, email oscarboyle@aol.co.uk