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REVIEW: Electric Flower EP

Jared Servantez |
November 8, 2011 | 8:06 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter


Electric Flower EP (soundcloud.com)
Electric Flower EP (soundcloud.com)

Years after a chance encounter in a broken elevator, drummer Josh Garza and guitarist Imaad Wasif are set to release their debut EP together as Electric Flower on Nov. 8. 

The two were strangers in 2006 when they were trapped in an elevator together at BBC Studios in London to film performances for a television program – Garza with his band Secret Machines and Wasif as a touring guitarist with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They held an impromptu jam session in the elevator to pass the time, and then went their separate ways. 

Three years later the two men ran into each other once again in Los Angeles. They headed to Wasif’s rehearsal space and wrote “Circles,” which would eventually become the impressive closer off their three-track, self-titled EP on Narnack Records

The first track, “Four16,” kicks off Electric Flower’s debut with an all-out sonic assault worthy of nothing less than being blasted at full volume. Garza’s powerful drumming opens the song with a booming tribal rhythm that makes excellent use of the bass drum and floor tom. The guitar follows shortly afterwards with a psychedelic intro riff that leads into the song’s fuzzed-out rhythm that brings to mind another Los Angeles duo, No Age. 

The song is a tribute to Kurt Cobain’s legendary performance of Leadbelly’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” in Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York concert four months before his suicide in 1994. Although the two songs share little sonic resemblance, the title “Four16” refers to the point four minutes and sixteen seconds into Cobain’s performance of the song when he gazes into the camera and Wasif claims you can see his soul leave his body – a fitting inspiration for Wasif’s lyrics about reincarnation. 

“Faces,” the EP’s second track, shows off Electric Flower’s versatility – an impressive feat considering the EP contains less than 15 minutes of music total. Garza once again works as much powerful bass out of his drum set as possible, but the track as a whole displays a heavy psychedelic influence. Wasif’s guitar tone drops its distortion in favor of tremolo and a trippy phase shifter effect. 

The song’s lyrics also take a different approach than “Four16,” revealing a bit more personal emotion behind the words. “Faces are not what they seem,” Wasif laments about people’s tendency to put up false fronts. The lyrics switch beautifully between hope (“When I was younger I loved a girl, I didn’t have to put on a face for the world”) and desperation (“When I was younger I asked my mom in anger to tell me who she was when I couldn’t recognize her”), giving the song some quite tangible tension. 

“Circles,” the EP’s final track as well as the first song written together by Wasif and Garza, shows the greatest potential for the future of Electric Flower. The longest track on the EP, clocking in at just over six minutes, “Circles” seems to encompass three different songs all in one. 

The first minute and a half consists of only guitar and reverb-drenched vocals with a strong post-punk vibe reminiscent of the Sonic Youth. Garza’s drums come in strong for the middle portion of the song, which alternates between a clean feel and short bursts of distortion from the guitar. For the song’s two minute outro, Garza masterfully takes the lead on a driving, upbeat tempo change that sets the stage for a solo from Wasif to close out the track. 

Electric Flower will be available both digitally and on an initial limited 500-copy run of foil-stamped, red 10-inch vinyl. The band will celebrate the release of their EP Nov. 8 with a show at Harvard & Stone on Hollywood Boulevard at 10:30 p.m.


Reach reporter Jared Servantez here or follow him on Twitter.

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