Flavor Crystals Explore Every Corner of Pysch Rock on Their Latest LP five
Flavor Crystals, the long-running Minnesota pysch rock band, bring all their heady talents to bare on their recently released fifth album, the succinctly titled five, which they released in early November. The album has 14 songs spread across five sides of vinyl (the sixth side is mirrored) that was five years in the making. It all may seem a bit cute, but the output is anything but gimmicky.
The album clocks in at a robust 70 minutes, and it is jam-packed with swirling, guitar-centric pysch rock that showcase the band’s road-tested chops. After the meditative opener of ‘Cetacea,” the band spend the record delving into virtually every corner of the genre they have dedicated their careers exploring. They ramble from the haunted sounds of “Pan Galactic” to heady, spaced-out jams like “Milkweed” and “The Azure Pearl.” There are heavier moments like “29 Swans” and more peaceful sonic offerings like “Moon Patrol” and “Early Morning Stocker.” And of course, for fans who already know their wheelhouse, they of course dive into lush, melodic shoegaze on songs like “Tonic Wine” and “Alpha Dawn.” No matter what specific niche they take on a given song, the record is a tapestry of rich, warm and fully engrossing songs that never is both good in chunks and also a sum even greater than it’s parts. For a record that is over an hour long, there are no moments where it feels like the records drags, and in fact I found myself circling back to the start when it wraps up many times.
For a band who clearly are willing to take their time on releasing material, the bar is high to make sure the “quantity/quality” axis isn’t out of whack, and with five Flavor Crystals have proven again to be worth the wait. Stream and buy the record below. Hopefully someday in the near future we can see them back on the stage bursting our eardrums again.
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