Big|Brave
A Chaos of Flowers


4.5
superb

Review

by jesper STAFF
April 17th, 2024 | 22 replies


Release Date: 04/19/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: navigating the ruins

In spite of the many harrowing moments of tranquillity peppered across slow, devastating walls of sludge and fuzz, Big|Brave albums have always felt borderline impenetrable. At the same time, Big|Brave have been one of the most reliably excellent bands of recent times, with each record putting forth a new dose of unsurprising(ly brilliant) soundscapes. This juxtaposition seemed to be headed for a breaking point on 2023’s nature morte - a project still deeply entrenched in all things overwhelming, but slowly becoming more willing to reveal some vulnerability and glimpses of intimacy. Now, one year later, these cracks are on full display: moreover, they form the core of A Chaos of Flowers.

That’s not to say A Chaos of Flowers doesn’t feel like a Big|Brave record: it is still a dark, haunting, and oppressive affair. However, rather than relying on big, intense explosions of sound to convey emotion, its eight tracks shift focus to fragile, delicate atmospheres while allowing Robin Wattie’s vocals to assume the spotlight. It’s a dim spotlight, but softly enhancing her more explicitly calm, melodic tendencies allows for incredible contrasts: much of this record feels like a quiet exploration of a loud wasteland, guided by Wattie’s hazily assertive voice. The massive “not speaking of the ways” establishes a blown-out, repetitive texture as its baseline, while sweeping contemplations of destruction guide the song forward. Rather than sticking with this approach throughout, the song’s second half disintegrates: as the noisy wall of sound collapses in on itself, a simple melody remains. It’s a clear melody - not a pretty one; it’s a quietly harrowing melody - not a quiet one.

Similarly, “quotidian : solemnity” forfeits instrumental fragility almost entirely, instead encompassing four minutes of noise. Wattie does not follow suit: instead, her voice is sharp and entirely explicit, masterfully achieving hauntingly memorable results with an intensely desolate soundscape. However, this desolation is not persistently mesmerising because of its barren nature on A Chaos of Flowers - sometimes it is mesmerising because it’s genuinely pretty. In rearranging the same tools, “i felt a funeral” and “moonset” bookend the record by exploring the folksy textures of The Body and Big|Brave’s collaborative project Leaving None But Small Birds. Where that album retold and reprised traditional songs, these new cuts are pure Big|Brave tracks, occasionally leaning on classic poetry and filtered through a newfound appreciation of earthy tones and sparsity. Every note feels equal parts intentional and organic, calmly navigating the ruins while taking the time to appreciate their gloomy beauty.

Ultimately, these adjustments to Big|Brave’s formula solidify one crucial thing: their music is utterly captivating regardless of its packaging. Whether the band are demanding your patience in order to showcase annihilation or carefully exploring all that they have destroyed so delicately, there is a devastating quality to each song that is incredibly hard to look away from. A Chaos of Flowers marks a productive new chapter in their trajectory, sure, but above all, it represents the very best of what Big|Brave have to offer: emotion in desolation, destruction in grace.




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user ratings (44)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2024


5552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

AHHH out this friday. have had this for a few months and goddamn it rules and sticks and haunts, band can do no wrong

Mad.
April 17th 2024


4916 Comments


Just listened to canon : in canon, really fascinating stuff, very excited to check the rest. Thanks for reviewing! Possibly up there with worst band names of all time though

Slex
April 17th 2024


16805 Comments


We are so back I'm fucking ready

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2024


61307 Comments


this had better not be another hard 3 -_- is their production more or less the same as nature morte?

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
April 17th 2024


5552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yea band name isn't great lol, oh well



production is v different from nature morte!

Rawmeeth38
April 18th 2024


2737 Comments


The single is nice.

someone
Contributing Reviewer
April 18th 2024


6764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I kinda loved the previous album, to my own surprise, so this is most definitely on the playlist.

calmrose
April 19th 2024


6884 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

rules

Poxy
April 19th 2024


165 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

that's a lot of ambient noise, and not much else

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2024


5552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good to see nearly the entire sput rating spectrum has been covered within the first 6 ratings hahaha

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2024


61307 Comments


big brave more like sleep token amirite

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
April 19th 2024


5552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

please don't say the s word around here

Aluktodolo
April 20th 2024


565 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

One listen through, this might be my favourite album of theirs. They’re so good at filling out the entire sonic spectrum, even during sparse sections, and Robin’s vocals just get better and better. I’ve got a soft spot for any guitarists that put such a focus on volume control, because you can play exactly the same notes twice and make those sections sound completely different, playing around with overtones and timbre. Also, Seth Manchester is probably my favourite engineer right now; even the work he did on the alternate version of De Doorn completely transformed and opened up that album for me and his work here is incredibly important to their overall sound and presentation.

FurtherDown
April 20th 2024


407 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This feels like a spiritual continuation of latest Low albums with all those instruments consuming each other. The sound of BB's records just keeps getting better and better.

DadKungFu
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2024


5104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This hits very nicely dedex is tripping this time around

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2024


5552 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hell yeah! and dw i will make dedex change his mind ONE WAY OR ANOTHER



low is actually a very good comparison yea damn

Ectier
April 22nd 2024


2746 Comments


I feel this is a album i need to have on in the background till i adjust to its sounds

JohnnyoftheWell
Staff Reviewer
April 22nd 2024


61307 Comments


woa this opener is what I thought Earth's The Bees Made Honey... was going to sound like before I heard it for the first time is this a good thing idk

Ectier
April 22nd 2024


2746 Comments


I like her voice as well

Pikazilla
April 24th 2024


30488 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

banger



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