The Ramona Flowers – Part Time Spies

Indie-electronia group The Ramona Flowers have released their latest album Part Time Spies.

By Jane Howkins.

   Part Time Spies is the latest album to be released by indie-electronia group The Ramona Flowers, and it’s a pretty intrriguing record. Their first album Dismantle and Rebuild (released in 2014) was rather controversial with critics and caused a lot of consternation, so on their sophomore release they have really had to knuckle down and change things up a bit. Two of the main issues brought up at the time were that they tried to put too many styles in at once, and were apparently trying to be a bit too much like Radiohead, two things that aren’t necessarily a bad thing in our opinion. We know of a little known band called Muse who were once called Radiohead copycats, but it would be a rare person to dare call them that now.

Onto the music, which is what really counts. The Ramona Flowers are fairly eclectic, but it’s generally done in an interesting way, and the music created by this doesn’t sound out of control or stilted at all. They’re actually a pretty fun band, and whilst Part Time Spies is the sort of record that needs a fair few listens to be properly understood, once you’ve got it it gets better. Perhaps that was the issue last time.

There is a cheesiness to some of the songs and the eighties thing is overdone quite a bit, but it’s a step in the right direction, especially from their 2014 album. Opener Dirty World has a particular eighties stomp to it, and while it sound a little dated it’s still fairly fun. The lyrics are also less simplistic than last time, however they do occasionally get a little too complicated, which was unneeded. It’s almost as if they’ve taken on the criticism from last time and gone a little overboard with it, but it’s still better than it was before.

The way The Ramona Flowers manage to throw in so many different sounds in such a seamless manner is impressive, and the transition from the eighties style on Dirty World to the modern day electronica of next track Skies Turn Gold might be a shock to some, but there is something here to appeal to every fan of the genre. Perhaps the issue is that there are only a couple of songs that appeal to most people, which is probably one of the reasons why critics have found the band so infuriating in the past, but keep listening and it might impress you.

There’s still a ways to go and it’s not perfect by any means, but Part Time Spies is an improvement over Dismantle and Rebuild. The Radiohead similarities are still there though.