Skating Club – Bugs and Flowers

Skating Club
Bugs and Flowers

Bugs and Flowers is a really good, complex, and spicy glass of wine that ruins your taste buds for all other wines. It’s the way your significant other’s shoulder smells when you lock arms and necks for a long embrace, knowing you won’t be seeing each other for a while. It is the feeling of sweet anticipation in returning home, while realizing that you won’t be staying very long.
If this seems a bit contradictory, or at least messy, . . . good, cause that’s reality, and that’s how Aubrey Anderson and company write it. Anderson is Skating Club’s creative nucleus and is surrounded by able composers and tasteful musicians Matt Smith (piano, Hammond, chamberlain) and Kenneth Bernard (drums). Skating Club debuted in 2001 with their self-titled album that spent time on the CMJ charts (peaking at #23) and received some heady praise from all corners of the music press. The Club has spent their time since then promoting, touring, writing, moving, and recording.
To achieve the delicate-yet-dramatic sound that is Skating Club, everyone involved must have a keen sense of what direction the music is supposed to be heading in and how to play their part so as to properly support the song and not burden the composition. And while the sound of the Club is fleshed out a bit more than the debut, the aim of the production and instrumentation is still true to the songs and lo-fi spirit.
The song themes sway between bittersweet satisfaction, warm-but-tender happiness, sad recollections, and lonely observation. From “Come by or Call”: “Babe, are you gonna call me when you start to think about children? Or am I left pursuing a stranger who’s wearing your perfume?” From “Birthday Song”: “And in the evening when I realized you weren’t gonna call, I wrote this song for you and I cursed my fantasy of you and me. Outside deluxe restaurant, whispering and kissing in the snow. Showing you the ground is frozen, darling, when I hold you so.”
For all fans of introspective, quietly dynamic indie pop, this is familiar territory, or at least should be. The Club deliver the goods yet again, albeit with a slightly more “weathered” voice and outlook than the debut. Some of the stand-out tunes include “Birthday Song,” “Virginia is for Lovers,” “Come by or Call,” and “Here Before,” which has a hand-percussion and synthesized voice sample fadeout which simply must be heard. Slide down onto your favorite chair and slip this album into the stereo, and enjoy the lyrical tales Anderson weaves through these slow, bright-yet-sad songs.