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Ulver > Flowers of Evil > Reviews > Lily_of_theBorealValley
Ulver - Flowers of Evil

Listenable - 64%

Lily_of_theBorealValley, September 18th, 2023

I prefer my synth pop either with comically weird sounds, or upbeat and dark. Either embarrassing beep-boops or goth shit. Yet, I enjoy this more minimalist, almost glam album.

Ulver took the heavily 80’s synth pop of their previous album, stripped it off many elements that filled out the songs, and slowed it down. The result does often come off shallow, but that does make it easier for the thoroughly downer mood of the album to come out. Playing with space and silence isn’t anything amazing, in synth pop and otherwise. Which is probably why Ulver kept their use of it grounded in musical conventions that anyone can expect from a pop album. That should be the main appeal for anyone looking to the album. Because it doesn’t try hard to do anything else. Just a steady stream of mostly mid-tempo songs dripping with off-white melancholy. And as that, it’s nice to see an album which pulls it off with plenty of variety and consistency.

That is, it is minimalist in its song structure and how often it uses silence, but not in the instrumentation. As the album progresses, you will find more and more glimpses at all kinds of instruments (including bagpipes) and nicer twists on what can be done while still keeping up with the album’s overall sound. The beat and percussions it uses especially evolves and becomes the best part of the songs. And at the same time Ulver develops an affinity for good old electric guitars and lets the rock side of synth pop take the stage, and busts out the fuzz and reverb.

It is hard to pin-point why then I can only qualitatively judge it as mediocre. Because it does do everything it wants to do competently. And still, even when I embrace its clean production and laser-pointed direction, it leaves me wanting for something more. Maybe more style, maybe substance. Maybe less one-note story-telling. Or maybe I’m just too grumpy.

Either way, it can’t detract from how listenable the album is. And “listenable” is just the perfect word to describe it.