There’s a lot to be said for first impressions. They tell us everything: good or bad, our instincts are the first feeling toward love or hate. In listening to a new album, we often know right away whether it’s worth a few more listens or better off serving as background music at a slaughterhouse. In the case of Mountain Queen, the new album from Calgary’s Flowshine, our instincts are definitely right: this is a fantastic release, worth a few listens, a first pump and a membership to their fan club.
Flowshine seems to have come out of nowhere. They’ve been around for a couple years, but now they’re impossible to overlook, with good press, a presence on every website and a lot of excitement buzzing around their upcoming shows. Once you hear Flowshine’s music you realize the reason for the attention they’re getting: simply put, they’re really good. They’re a band the whole family will love — if your family’s cool, anyway.
Part of the album’s likeability is its diversity. Each of the six songs is a little bit different, almost to the point that they sound like different bands altogether. They don’t have the “signature sound” you might hear with other bands, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing: some bands get so caught up in their “sound” or their image they become boring and predictable. Flowshine does not have that. They show huge variety in their music, from blues-rock to psychedelic funk-rock to more happy pop. Everything does have a slightly old-school feel, so if they have one quality to call their own, “retro” is probably it.
Because of their diversity, it’s hard to name just one band Flowshine sounds like. “The Coast” brings out the heavier blues-rock, sounding almost like Cream, Zeppelin or the more modern Queens of the Stone Age. “Red Thread” and “Good People”, though, are more poppy; they’d be great to dance to. You might think of The Killers or Weezer, bands with definite radio appeal and huge fan followings. “Something to Go On” is a funkier version of The Killers, with wicked bass lines carrying the music forward. The bass stands out quite a bit, actually: it really complements the guitars and drums throughout, putting together completely solid arrangements of music and showing off some very talented song-writing.
The more you listen to this album, the better it gets. It’s hard to name a favourite track, probably due in part to their diversity. Listen to this album lots. It’s easy to do so, especially with how quickly the six tracks fly by. For a taste of the music, check out their tunes on Soundcloud, and then go like them on Facebook and visit all the other online houses listed on their main website.
And if you’re in Calgary, check them out at Dickens Pub Thursday, January 31 — the show’s going to be huge and you’ll definitely regret missing it. The first impression of Flowshine’s Mountain Queen is a good one, and it’ll keep getting better.