Corey Flood’s Spooky Debut Hanging Garden is Full of Lush Sounding Menace

Corey Flood’s Spooky Debut Hanging Garden is Full of Lush Sounding Menace

Filled with both spooky and chill vibes, Corey Flood’s Hanging Garden is a post-punk, gothy trip.

Two years after their four track EP Wish You Hadn’t, the band Corey Flood has released their debut album Hanging Garden. With bassist Ivy Gray-Klein and guitarist Em Boltz sharing vocals and Juliette Rando on drums, this Philadelphia based post-punk trio is at home crafting breezy, chill songs, as well as more sinister and dark tracks. Many of the songs are drenched in fuzz and echoes, but they give each one its own mood. Some are confident, almost happy, while others embrace a feeling of uneasiness, giving them a more haunting quality. The nine track album moves fast, and the songs feel much longer than their often brief duration, but the band takes you on a great journey.

“Heaven Or” opens the album with layers of fuzz and a low-key groove. Gray-Klein sings gently with a steady bass line that, along with Rando’s drums, drives this mellow song. Boltz’s guitar floats above with a hypnotic riff. It’s a chill, swaying song, but the lyrics complicate matters. The repeated line “I know what I saw” adds a level of distrust and confusion. It’s a great combination of breezy instrumentation and sinister lyrics, something that Corey Flood does excellently.

The next track “Down the Hill” continues with the feeling of unease. The instrumentation makes a big impact despite its simplicity. The guitar sounds lush and soupy, a thick sound that gives the short riffs an expansive feel. Many of Corey Flood’s songs don’t have many lyrics, and they’re rarely literal. However, they effortlessly evoke feelings and create a compelling mood. When Boltz sings, “There is no shame in humility / Hanging garden, 19th Century / Maybe it is really nothing / but I was in love,” I hear deeper pain, but also persistence. 

“Hive Mind” comes next, returning to a more laid back sound. The guitar is still effects-drenched, but each track has its own unique twist. The more you listen, the more you hear the subtle variations in sound on each track. It’s amazing how just a little tweak can change the whole mood of the song. Boltz’s easy-going singing voice is a great complement to the constantly changing guitar riffs. The track saunters along before evaporating with a final little guitar lick.

Shifting to a more emotionally tumultuous feeling, “Honey” plays with dynamics. The verses, one sung by Boltz and one by Gray-Klein, are quieter, more thoughtful. The bass and guitar intertwine and complement each other, before a wave of distortion passes over and brings in the chorus. The crunch adds a turbulence as the two singers call and respond: “What is it? / A flood.” Gray-Klein’s verse cuts deep: “I pour so much of myself into you / you say the words you think you ought to say / try to pretend it didn’t feel that way.” The second chorus fades out to just the bass and clacking drums before the song abruptly ends. They pack a lot of stormy emotions in a small package.

Next up is “Park Deli 7.” After the rumbling bass opens, two guitars duel throughout the song with competing riffs that weave back and forth, cooperating and contrasting. They start calm, but their energy amps up by the end of the track. Gray-Klein’s voice floats above them. It’s gentle, but there’s strength behind it. The guitars intertwine until a meaty chord finishes the track.

Sparkling, echoey guitar opens up “Crush”, and it’s only one of many textures on the track. The clear guitar accompanies Boltz’s voice through the verses and calls of “I don’t know!” as well as “You should know!” There’s fuzzy droning power chords that provide a base for a chewy guitar solo and active bass line. The drums start off simple and clacking before building with the rest of the instruments towards the end, with more and more cymbals crashing. The crescendo that finishes up the track is a small build and burst, a brief cutting loose on an overall chill album.

“Slow Bleeder” brings that uneasy mood back. A haunting verse with echoey guitar and direct vocals from Gray-Klein puts you on your toes. The drums march forward before the cymbals crash and distortion bursts in for the chorus. It’s another of Corey Flood’s songs that plays with dynamics, becoming a sort of low-key grunge song. The chorus “I’ve always been a slow bleeder / It takes time but I’ll be there” gives an unsettling feeling, and the song ends suddenly on a tense note and a quick fade to silence.

“Kind Stranger” continues the menacing mood, with sharp guitar sounds and Gray-Klein’s haunting voice. There are still echoes and fuzz, but the guitars alternate between their familiar effects and overdriven snarls in the chorus. These choruses just feel dark, as Gray-Klein sings “Mull it over in your sleep / Forget the promises you keep.” The contrast between her voice and instrumentation makes it feel all the more foreboding, like the song is casting a curse on you. The outro is dominated by distorted, warped guitar bends, brimming with spooky energy.

The final track on the album, “Poppies” keeps some of the previous tracks dread, but melds it with some distorted string scratching that gives an off-kilter, loopy feeling. It’s a trip through a dream-like goth world. The chorus has Gray-Klein repeating and overlapping the line “You can’t see in your own darkness.” If the last song was a curse, this one represents the after effects, leaving you feeling hypnotized and in a confusing dream. Simple bass and drum lines under spooky guitar effects help to keep this fever dream of a song going, and it’s a great moody ending to the album.

Alternating between some laid back, groovy vibes, and eerie moodiness, Corey Flood’s debut album takes you on a weird little journey. Showing off a wide variety of sounds but staying true to their “basement goth” sound, Hanging Garden is a fantastic, atmospheric album that leaves me eager for whatever they do next.

 

Top Photo by Marcus Maddox

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