Flotilla - "Flotilla"
(World Domination 1999, wdm10100)
From Aural Innovations #7 (July 1999)
New from the folks that brought you the modern space-rock of Sky Cries Mary comes the self-titled debut from California's Flotilla. I can see the occasional similarity in the approaches these two entities take, but there are more differences than likenesses. This foursome weaves a colorful tapestry of warm spacey sounds and dreamy vocals, and the occasional catchy pop hook. Well, that does sound like SCM eh? But SCM is the more intense and dramatic entity... Flotilla is far more 'airy' in nature.
Following the "Quark-like" electronic opening piece ("Blue Flame"), the fully-fledged "Through and Out" streams through with various synthetic components - a choppy rhythm, ambient swashing, and some submarine frequencies. "Love Can Strike Twice" is a bit sappier, the male/female duet of Terry Border and Karina Argudo not quite the same as the Romero's of SCM (a matter of taste which you'd prefer), though the tune itself is catchy like their "Moonbathing." My eyes opened far wider when "In My Head" appeared, this one an orchestral space odyssey of high stature. Maybe a bit slow-moving, but every so often it's nice to float through space *before* blasting into another galaxy. Following the cutesy but dull "This Year's Clown," we are then treated to another slower dream-drone piece ("Sea Alive"), featuring phased effects and fuzzed bass. Some really nice sounds here.
Three more moderately-paced numbers fill out the album, a bit brief at 38 minutes, but a decent enough first effort with a few things to offer I haven't heard elsewhere. To be really specific, the sound of Flotilla most resembles a blend of Texas dream-space kings 7% Solution with the stylized synth-pop of Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin (ex-Hatfield & the North, et al.). An interesting idea, and I think they can develop it into something really special with a little cultivation in the songwriting department and an injection of energy here and there.
You can more information you can visit the World Domination web site.
Reviewed by Keith Henderson