Bristletongue are a four-piece from Illinois fronted by L Morgan, whose aureate poetics bolster the group’s expansive compositions, which lie along the emo to post-rock spectrum. True to its title, the four songs on their debut EP, Femme Florale, are fixated on flower imagery, whether withering or blossoming or dying on the vine. It’s a thematic through-line that pays off well and matches the band’s music, with its many tendrils tied back to the singular root that is L Morgan’s impressive voice. That voice stretches syllables for miles, smooth and mournful on “Thistle Among Roses” (“Was it worth the wait to see me on the way?/ And did you hesitate to lock the garden gate?”) or more bristled on closer “Ivy Creep”: “Lest we forget/ Loving me was not your best bet.” With Femme Florale, Bristletongue made four hypnotic songs about the way love and loss twist themselves into our lives, mingle with the dirt, make us feel less than whole. It’s an impressive showing for a young band, and you should listen to it below.
Femme Florale is out now via Prairie State Records.