Lavender Flu


The second album that makes it way into the ether from Lavender Flu this year is actually a step back in time. Noted as a bit of a ‘lost’ second album, the tracks were recorded just after Heavy Air and they retain a bit of the feeling of that period in the Flu’s lifespan. Unlike the more single-track-oriented offering from earlier this year, there’s a film lacquered over the top of Tomorrow Cleaners adhering one track to another and making it hard to parse it apart. The approach gives the album a feeling of disorienting vignettes in a larger piece. One minute Chris Gunn is rolling into a broken blues fuzz, the next he’s lost in the tape hiss hedgemaze and squirreling away pop pieces for the future. The pieces flip through channels in broken television splatter, letting some songs slip away before they resolve and others push through with dialed-in clarity.

Noise plays a larger part here, again aligning this with Heavy Air’s hounded, sprawling structure, but the further the listener backs away the more this begins to resemble a psychedelic collage that’s less haphazard and more big picture than it might let on if just experienced piecemeal. There are patterns between the punishment of amps and the gelatinous vocals. The pop gems might feel like the most potent but sometimes its the most anxious parts of Gunn’s vision that grab hold — the inter-dimensional angst of “Boca Ciega,” the faded sheen of “Infrathin,” or the somber soul of “Winter Mauls.” I’d have to say that given the two, Barbarian Dust is a more complete picture of Lavender Flu in 2020, but Tomorrow’s Cleaners is more than just a curio of the past, it’s a connective tissue that needed to be acknowledged and it colors in some nice lines in the Flu’s growth.

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