Dixie’s Death Pool’s latest record The Man With the Flowering Hands reveals itself like a series of lifting and drifting veils, each passing attitude gently giving way to another shifting impression of a mood. The songs fit together like floating aural continents bridged by field recordings and improvised sonics, each tune a strange country with new ways of unfolding musical language. Within each landscape, unexpected sounds are suspended or paddle past; this album is no lo-fi experiment, rather an involved essay on the artistry of mixing. A train passes through the beginning of ‘The Passenger’ and the listener is there as it ghosts by. The rounded curve of a dancing bass line fools around with a brassy trumpet that’s busy flirting with jazz. Silvery guitar licks are threaded together with smooth-sung words, lyrics whispered and moaned into an attending microphone.
Traveling between the tunes on gusts of blown-about notes are characters who wax lyrical about love, loss and the passage of time. The song titles themselves are poetic (‘A bird is Suddenly Inside’, ‘Tomorrowland’) and hint at the romanticism that seems to beat within the chest of Dixie’s Death Pool’s songwriter, Lee Hutzulak. Indeed, The Man With the Flowering Hands as a whole seems to be something of a maximalist exercise, veined with strings and feedback, sparking with glitches and digital clicks as well as the unplace-able tones of handmade instruments.
In its pop-iest moments (of which there are a few) songwriters like Beck, Pulp, and The Flaming Lips are called to mind, which is a bit surprising considering that this album, though warm-sounding and lovingly arranged, does not come across as populist music, unless an accessory intention of its creation was to open up more minds to the flexibility of the songwriting craft. I would recommend The Man With The Flowering Hands as a choice vacation spot for tired music lovers looking to be reinvigorated and overwhelmed by strange beauty.