Angel Deradoorian’s The Expanding Flower Planet is a refreshing and captivating take on indie rock. While she calls upon her time as part of the genre’s standbys Dirty Projectors and Bittie Orca as well as her background work with a plethora of artists ranging from Flying Lotus to Charlie XCX to U2, she puts forth a work that ultimately transcends her past efforts.
The Expanding Flower Planet is especially notable for the emphasis it places on contrasts. A great example can be found on the track “Komodo,” where she sings about nothing other than a vicious lizard attack in a soothing voice (“Don’t close your eyes”/“Poisoned and dying”/“Stalking your line”) over an eerie organ and a chiming dulcimer. Similarly, on “The Eye,” Deradoorian’s singing is mysteriously shrouded in ethereal vocal harmonies (“Clean yourself”/“Undo yourself”/”To walk your truth alone”) despite being sung over a straight ahead drum and bass pattern that, save the dark tone, would not sound totally out of place on a 70’s pop-rock record.
The album also does an especially compelling job of interweaving Deradoorian’s Armenian heritage with a variety of other influences. This creates a sound that contrasts pleasantly and unexpectedly with the four bar chord changes that have come to dominate contemporary indie rock. On “Beautiful Woman,” a psychedelic soul guitar and drum groove evolves into cascading Black Sea harmonies. This is a great example of the surprising influences that make The Expanding Flower Planet such an enjoyable and refreshing listen.
While the instrumental parts of Expanding Flower Planet are a large component of the album’s appeal, the most compelling and haunting part of the album is Deradoorian’s beautiful, unwavering, diamond-edged voice. She sings deftly in harmony with herself and in solo. The Expanding Flower Planet could have come out as a cacophonous conglomeration of influences, but Deradoorian’s voice soars above and ties it all together and makes the album a memorable and bewitching listen.
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