There is an automatic sense of sadness to this album, the debut of San Francisco’s power-pop wonders, The Flywheels. While this has built up over a 20-year span, bass player Eric Scott, who was one of the duo driving the band (the other being singer Kim Wonderley) died in 2016 and didn’t get to see this wonderful album become a reality. Nevertheless, I’m For The Flowers is here; it is real and it’s a fitting testament to the musical vision of Mr. Scott and Ms. Wonderley.
“Hello Cruel World” is a fitting opener – a “Taxman”-style riff, with dirtier guitars, hooks galore, harmonies and classic pop structures – a very modern slant on neo-psychedelia; “Diamond (From Your Mouth)” has clever time signatures and a wonderful “spirit of ’67”-ness about it, especially with the keyboard interlude and “Needle Of Sunshine” explodes out at you with its firecracker drum thrusts that open the track, leading to a harmony-laden masterpiece – and listen to the ascending/descending progression between the chorus and verses. “Red Tail Lights” is another potential “radio hit” (using the phrase in quotes since the idea has become so greatly diminished over the years); slightly melancholic and carried by Ms. Wonderley’s sweet vocals that reach ethereal points, it’s simply one of those perfect tracks an album can offer (and is a favorite to my ears); subsequently, “Let Me Take You Down (To The Sea)” is a (slighly psychedelic) ballad that has a familiar feel to it (I keep hearing snippets of various songs from Abbey Road) and again, Ms. Wonderley’s vocals take this into another stratosphere. The album’s title track takes things right back into a hyper-motor-drive mode, with a revved-up pure garage track that any band would kill for and “Dream Of Life” has to be the magnum opus; a touching piece that flows like a multicolored river.
The Flywheels, as a collective, have offered something special to the universe and deserves to be heard by all; it’s just that simple. And wherever Eric Scott is in the cosmos, I hope he’s smiling down, knowing that he left something to be taken to heart for all time.
I’m For The Flowers will be released on Friday, March 24th, 2017