Despite releasing their seventh studio album earlier this year, The Decemberists are already back with another new release. Collecting songs from the What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World recording sessions that didn’t make it onto the album, Florasongs bears a few distinct similarities to the album. As its own entity, however, it isn’t anything majorly groundbreaking, and has its fair share of flaws surrounding one or two great tracks.
Florasongs mostly follows in the folk footsteps of the preceding album, largely being made up of mellow folk rock tracks with their own little quirks: rhe use of accordion in Riverswim makes it feel more interesting compared to its companions, and Stateside’s minimal arrangement including only electric guitar and vocals feels like an unusual but somewhat successful take on an acoustic track; at least, until it starts to drag in its later half. The remaining two tracks are standard fare, without any major points of note.
Fits & Starts is the EP’s major talking point though, if only because it stands out in a major way. Instead of the gentler folk sound, it takes the high energy indie rock route instead, not really using any unique or standout instruments but focusing on good riffs and delay-laden vocals. While it’s the most immediately enjoyable song here, it’s also confusing and unfitting in the context of Florasongs.
While the most obvious problem with Florasongs is the disjointed feeling it has thanks to the radical genre shift on Fits & Starts, the quality of the songs is generally spotty as well. While Riverswim and Fits & Starts are both enjoyable and Stateside shows potential, the EP itself feels like a slapdash release; it feels like an attempt to simply collect the leftover songs from What a Terrible World in one place, rather than giving them a real chance to shine on their own.