On their second album, Ltd. Form, Brooklyn’s Silk Flowers open the window and let the smoke out of their sound on an eclectic set of songs that finds them trying new approaches instead of refining the self-titled debut’s ominous flexi-pop, a field that’s been getting a little crowded lately.
Ltd. Form starts slowly, with three instrumentals that entertain but lack personality; opener “Chance” resembles an early OMD experiment, while “Covered Lamp” has the alienating, dischordant melody of Replicas-era Tubeway Army. “Fruit of the Vine” is the first song that demands the listener pay attention, and probably not coincidentally, the first with vocals. Possessing one of those can’t-fail descending chord progressions set to a soft stomp, not unlike Air’s “Sexy Boy” or Bent’s “Stay the Same,” the song is more beach chillout than urban coldwave, and when followed by the beautiful slice of bedroom Balearic “Small Fortune,” it’s clear that Silk Flowers are at their best when not trying so hard to be moody and instead embrace a breezy lushness.
Even singer Aviram Cohen has toned down his comedically doomy Ian Curtis impersonation and found an acceptance of his limitations. The truly bracing moments are few, and there is still the pull towards lo-fi experimentalism, but Silk Flowers show that they can and will aim for broader appeal.