Bands

ARCTIC FLOWERS

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Portland’s Arctic Flowers have explored unique attempts at cross-pollinating genres that have grown apart over the course of the evolution of dark music, re-incorporating styles usually seen as mutually exclusive in today’s fractured (and fractious) punk scene. The end result has been a catalog that is one of the current punk scene’s most ambitious, challenging, and rewarding to listen to. “Arctic Flowers” refers to a Rubella Ballet song as well as the poem “Barbarian” by Arthur Rimbaud, and the dual namecheck connotes well both the band’s gothy peace punk sound and its poetic lyrics and imagery. Alex’s vocals recall the classic punk of bands like Penetration or the golden years of postpunk—bands like Pink Military and Skeletal Family. The rhythm section of Lee (bass) and Cliff (drums) pounds ahead in the vein of bands like Killing Joke . Although rooted in the DIY punk underground, the band’s appeal has crossed over to fans of traditional gothic rock and deathrock. “Our sound is a mix of punk, deathrock and post punk” guitarist Stan Wright explains. “Aggressive but at times danceable and melodic.” The early anarcho-punk scene and the variety of musical types embodied therein—everything from the gloomy goth of Part 1 to the fiery agitprop of Dirt—serve as one model for the band’s approach. Most of the band’s releases showcase dynamic mood changes between stomping, three chord rockers (“Crusaders”) and more somber, atmospheric dirges (“Strange Ports of Call”), using tempos and rhythm arrangements that are often more akin to Joy Division than to speedy hardcore punk.  from Oliver Sheppard

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