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  Hello Friends
  Summer Flake
  Rice Is Nice  
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Summer Flake is mostly the project of Stephanie Crase, who is from Adelaide, Australia. Her band here is a trio, rounded out with Antony Bourmas and Joel Cary. Since they are Australian, the seasons are reversed from us here in Georgia, so perhaps i should refer to them as Winter Flake.

But it's not a wintery album. Instead, this is a set of 10 summery tunes, nice little pop songs often soaked in a lot of reverb. At times, they remind me of Triathalon, only with a female vocalist who doesn't sing through as much distortion and echo.

The record starts off with the lethargic indie blues rock of Son of a Gun, her voice hushed under chiming guitar.

Shoot and Score is moodier with rumbling bass, the voice low and almost buried under guitar that chimes and tinkles away. They approach dreampop here. I'd Ask You Not To Look Away is a similar sort of tune, but then it just kind of pops into a dreamy, reverby, bright sound, while she just sings "Bah bah bah, bu bah bah bah bah", a nonsense syllable rhythm as the song bounces along. Very lovely.

Crase sings lightly on the pretty Make Your Way Back To Me as the tune grinds like something from The Breeders.

They slow it down for Tumbling Down, in which there are several layers of female voice over acoustic guitar. Nice enough.

So Long is another slower tune, but bluesy slow not folk slow like the previous tune. Crase plays her guitar with bent notes reverbing and chiming clearly as her voice is a light whisper. This reminds me of Triathalon, or perhaps the more minimal moments of Devics. Lovely.

Wine Won't Wash Away really grinds nicely, like if Britta was allowed to sing lead on more classic Luna songs. It has that kind of hazy feel to it, with some grinding energy on the choruses. Nice. Satellite is a similar song in that it is more energetic, but it reminds me more of Belly than Luna.

Look How Far We've Come is another lovely song, slow and lethargic, the band kind of grinding along with the guitar distorted and echoing, her voice lost in the mix repeating the title over and over through a long distorted fade out. Well done.

And finally we end the record with Mess, another bluesier tune, the guitar grinding, her voice buried in the mix as the album slides to a close.

This is solid stuff. Crase and company really know what they are doing, and she is a heck of a guitarist. I also really like that the guitar is more important to their sound than the vocals, so they mixed accordingly. That is, in many bands this album would have been produced to put the vocals in a top layer over all of the instrumentation. Not every band needs such a treatment even though it appears to be the default way that music is produced. Summer Flake did not produce Hello Friends in such a way. The vocals are quite often lost in the overall mix, which lets the guitarwork really shine through.

I wish more acts recorded in such a way, but then again i listen to a lot of instrumental rock. Your mileage may vary, of course, but i wonder if some listeners were annoyed at the lack of vocal clarity.

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