Facing straights

Last Flowers take inspiration from their icons and filter it into a decidedly more punk pop and hardcore nexus

Despite a chaotic slew of contributions to their sonic landscape, Last Flowers give an air of finding and rocking their niche.
Despite a chaotic slew of contributions to their sonic landscape, Last Flowers give an air of finding and rocking their niche.

After talking with Last Flowers for only a few minutes, it’s become pretty clear that they’re total music geeks. I know this not just because they’ve told me a few times, but because the conversation is punctuated with numerous tangents where they lose track of a question to discuss the merits of one band or another. Their tastes are eclectic, and they have a passion for bands ranging from Circa Survive, to the Foo Fighters, to Sigur Ros.

Made up of Tom Hinchliffe (guitar), Mac Cameron (vocals), Geoff Parent (drums), Dan Hughes (bass) and Ben Webb (guitar), they’re a band that takes all these disparate predilections and attempts to amalgamate them into their own personal style.

Their name for example, is a throw to a bonus track from Radiohead’s In Rainbows, but before settling on Last Flowers they considered Hunter’s Fang or some combination of words like mountain, sky and blood. “Last Flowers was the least dumb of all our ideas,” said Parent with a laugh.

Hinchliffe, Cameron and Parent met one another by varying degrees of chance and after discovering they had similar tastes, they started playing together. Their bassist Hughes got in touch with them after they put up a wanted flyer and they were quickly impressed with his abilities.

Hughes, having been classically trained as a jazz bassist, introduced a contrasting dynamic to the group. One of their guitarists, Webb, knew Hinchliffe from their hometown, and joined after some subtle prompting. Dubbed “the veteran” by the rest of the band, he brings a punk element to the group.

This mixture begs the question of just what they actually sound like, and they provided first what others have suggested, such as At the Drive-In, Coheed and Cambria and even Black Sabbath and then what they hoped or wanted to sound like, which included Radiohead, Circa Survive, Brand New and Thrice.

“It’s really hard to place what we sound like because we write parts we really enjoy playing,” said Cameron. “It’s not like we’re trying to emulate people as much as we’re trying to write songs we would listen to.”

After listening to their five-song EP, I’ve got to agree with them, it’s tough to pin down a stable comparison. Their opening song “Snake” is fast, rough and a little screamy, whereas “Brothers” takes a different angle. It has high, multi-tracked vocals and a technical guitar track that quickly maneuvers its way across the fretboard. With “Brothers” the comparison to Coheed gains credence.

The album’s closer “Horses” is wild and frenetic; the drummer pounds the cymbals aggressively and the various elements of the song seem to be competing with one another. This can be said of their EP overall: there’s a bit too much going on. It feels as though every instrument is vying for the lead, and they step on each other’s toes a little too frequently.

Standing in contrast to these is the winding “Dismantling the Eiffel Tower,” which is where Last Flowers really shows what they can do. Cameron’s vocals are ethereal and the beat is reserved in a way that compliments the mood. The guitar line is steady and bright before coming in strong when the track takes a louder turn. It’s well paced, melodic and the song I found to be most enjoyable.

There’s talent in the band, but it’s a rough go for the unfamiliar ear. Their songs are a little too thrashy and a little too loud to be truly well received by the average audience. But, if you’ve got the desire to go see a band that’s guaranteed to be loud, hard, energetic and somewhere in the nexus of punk, pop and hardcore, these are your guys. Last Flowers may be a rough listen for the uninitiated, but there’s no denying that what they do, they do well.

Last Flowers play The Mansion on March 31 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8.

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