Sister Flo – Lauriemoore

Sister Flo

Even for all of its decadent debauchery, rock and roll has always been sort of a wussy thing. I mean, think about it, there’s not a whole lot of machismo involved when four or five white guys get on a stage (in a studio, etc.) and sing about (for the most part) how the opposite gender has done them wrong. I mean, of course, there are exceptions, but for every band like the Sex Pistols, there’s been at least one band like the Beach Boys (one of the wussiest bands of all time). Now don’t get me wrong, an exorbitant amount of great music has come from all of this sissy behavior. However, I’m of the opinion that the line needs to be drawn somewhere. And quite frankly, the line needs to be drawn right at Sister Flo.

To put it bluntly, there is absolutely nothing controversial about Sister Flo. They’re four white guys. They sit down while they’re performing (or that’s the presumption one must draw from the insert). They have a song called “Baby Love.” Even their cover art depicts low levels of testosterone – soft yellows and reds lay behind the name of the band and their album, Lauriemoore, both spelled out in very neat, very soft writing. The guitars on the album stay clean and decipherable most of the time. When the band does attempt a little blast of distortion it sounds not like a wall of crunch but like a little baby bootie taking a step into the soft snow. Weak.

I did say before, however, that good music has come out of such circumstances before. How do Sister Flo’s songs hold up? Standard at best. The first song, “Baby Love,” opens with a repetitious guitar plinking along and the same soft, timid voice that pervades the rest of the album. The song builds a little bit and manages to sound a bit jazzy at parts, but the hook is missing, and therefore it can be skipped. “Di Canio” sounds a bit more ominous than the first song, but for the most part it’s still powder-puff mid-tempo slosh. “Lesser Demons” and “Rug Marketing Scams” proceed in much the same fashion. In “Driver” those first hints of distortion come in, but it’s almost like the guitars never get the full overdrive punch that they would need to truly put the song into orbit. “P-74-U” is a tortoise-like six-minute instrumental that remains low-key and boring the whole time. “Humble Player” probably moves along a lot faster than any song on this eight-song mini-album, and therefore it might be the best, as the band manages to build up to a slight buzz and the song even has some catchy moments. The last “song,” “Pistolero,” is a horribly misguided puzzle that might find a place on a Beck album if it had better lyrics (the singer pretty much just repeats “pistolero.pisto-leh-hare-o” ad nausea).

There are many bands in existence that are much quieter and softer than Sister Flo. But at least the For Carnation sound ominous. And you can carry a Beach Boys tune to your grave. Sister Flo just comes off as too intentionally pretty, too soft just for the sake of being soft. I’m sure they’re chick magnets back at the high-school talent show, but this stuff is lost on me. From one wuss to a band of them – turn up your amps, buy a distortion pedal and maybe go cover a Bon Jovi song or something.