The Caffeine Disk EP


Gypsy Garden Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Flowerland is one of those bands that has spent all of their 20 year career in relative obscurity. Though they are a progeny of the grunge era, it is probably true that almost none of the even diehard fans of this genre have ever heard of this band. But the group still performs and tours and so it’s time for introduction. The Caffeine Disk EP (and its sister The Caffeine Disk EP – Deluxe) might be the most exposure this band has ever received outside of its native Connecticut, since this is the only release that is easily available for purchase, and mainly because it has the name “John Agnello” associated with it. For the uninitiated, Agnello is pretty well-known in the indie circles and has prominently worked with seminal indie acts like Breeders, Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr./J Mascis, Screaming Trees/Mark Lanegan, and Sonic Youth.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Flowerland has been releasing singles and EPs (alongside a couple of full-length albums and a compilation record) since 1992, although all of it seems to be unavailable. The Caffeine Disk EP is a selection of existing six tracks recorded long time ago and remixed by Agnello. Since grunge as we know it is dead, as even the handful of remaining bands from this period have matured and morphed and do not sound much like their former selves anymore, The Caffeine Disk EP is a “new” release that will take the listener right back to the airwaves of the early ‘90s rock radio.

Although they are a prototypical grunge band, Flowerland isn’t the heavy macho type. For the most part, The Caffeine Disk EP is in line with grunge acts that have a psychedelic leaning rather than those with a heavy metal leaning – more of the Screaming Trees than the Alice In Chains type. The kickass “Crazy Horse” and “Low” are exceptions, where the band sounds like the pre-Badmotorfinger days Soundgarden, minus Chris Cornell’s glass-shattering screams. And the comparison to Soundgarden is inevitable, with Flowerland’s psychedelic influence (without, of course, the par excellence musicianship of the members of Soundgarden), which is showcased brilliantly on the nearly eight-minute long (and clearly the best track on this collection) “Flow,” with its alternating heavy and moody dynamics played to perfection.

The Caffeine Disk EP has a youthful rawness that makes it more appealing than its music does. The crude production has left the album the way it should be best preserved and presented; it sounds like it was a session in someone’s garage or played live in some stinky godforsaken club, and isn’t that how this beautiful movement called grunge got started?

Rating: A-

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© 2012 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Gypsy Garden Records, and is used for informational purposes only.