Deradoorian - The Expanding Flower Planet

by Justin Pearson Rating:8 Release Date:2015-08-21

Anyone familiar with Angel Deradoorian's stint as a bassist/vocalist in Dirty Projectors won't be too surprised at the experimental feel of her debut LP, The Expanding Flower Planet. As the title would imply, it's an alien world where songs bloom and grow with a vine-like, slithering quality as they infiltrate to fill the empty spaces they seek. It's all over the place - searching, but not lost.

A general sense of discord runs through much of the album's song structure, and the vision that Deradoorian sets forth both lyrically and musically supplies it with an oblique, yet complimentary harmony. A line like "Under the water lies the core" gives voice to the theme of assertiveness that bubbles up not only on 'A Beautiful Woman', but elswhere on the album. Each song dips into this wellspring for a uniquely-tailored nourishment to feed the organic entity that is The Expanding Flower Planet.

Tribal-infused title track 'Expanding Flower Planet' employs snaking, hip-swirling percussion to reflect the burgeoning search for truth within the song's lyrics: "Expanding flower tell me does your knowledge show / We all know much more than we really think we know / We must know much more than what we seem to know."

The creeping 'Komodo' is reminiscent of a medieval fairy tale of sorts with a rhythmic chant that enchants: "Komodo coming through / Run for your lives / Run for the hills / Don't close your eyes."

Slightly foreboding and mysterious, 'The Invisible Man' displays Deradoorian's range as a vocalist while the jarring melody of 'DarkLord' calls to mind her signature work with Dirty Projectors.

'Ouneya' feels almost skeletal, rattling as it takes shape. Deradoorian's incantation-like vocals provide the muscle as the percussion and organ make up the flesh. It leads perfectly into the more meaty 'The Eye' with its pounding, unrelenting bass line. There's a constant pouring forth that makes the song feel powerfully cathartic.

Satisfactorily closing the album is the aptly titled 'Grow.' Acoustic guitar and a lone wooden flute lend a simplicity that underpins the song/album's main concern, which is growth: "Give me knowledge unseen / Without the burden of reality / Beyond you / Beyond me / How do we learn so we can all teach." Then about halfway through the song Deradoorian reminds us of what by this point has become obvious to the listener: "The thoughts of spring / They enlighten me."

Even after a few listens there's still new surprises to discover, whether some hidden instrumentation or lyric you might have missed before. As debuts go, The Expanding Flower Planet is a solid, promising, and inviting slice of otherworldly unfamiliarity from a familiar talent. At first you won't know what planet you're on, but once you've been there awhile you'll most likely want to visit again.

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