Kyle Lawler Golden Flower

The eight sumptuously lo-fi recordings on Golden Flower hearken back to Julius Caesar-era Smog, not only for the sparse instrumentation and slow-moving mini-epics but for their delicate balance of oddball humour and naked, vulnerable honesty. "Cherry Pop” innocently asks its protagonist, "Is it hairy?,” while "Thong Song Take No. 420,” with its "I’m so stoned!” sing-along refrain, could be the jingle for medicinal marijuana. Things get serious though on "Move Up or Move On,” "Living On Mars” and the title track, which all find Lawler begging for clues as to how to find his place in a world where he clearly doesn’t belong. "Living On Mars,” particularly, sums up the record’s themes, with Lawler realising he’s living on the wrong planet and hitching a ride to another so he can be closer to his favourite stars. Though Golden Flower is not his first release, here Lawler has discovered his voice and has grown into the clever, evocative storyteller he’s always tried to be. (Independent)