In the world of American indie-rock Columbus, Ohio isn't exactly on the radar of most people looking for up-and-coming bands. It's considered flyover territory by many but if the five members of Flotation Walls have anything to say about it the mid-sized Midwestern burg will soon have the eyes and ears of critics and fans from across the country.
Carlos Avendano officially started the band in 1996 describing this first incarnation as, "experimental and on the fly music made with casio keyboards, delay pedals, water coolers, a sampler an occasional guitar." After a few years the project shifted into more of a sort of rock collective with a rotating roster of players, however Avendano began looking for more structure and direction and in 2004 he began work in earnest on the band's first record. Slowly laying down and recording songs with the help of many friends and previous Flotation Walls players the album gradually began to take shape.
Playing these songs as a solo act around town, however, he realized that he wouldn't be able to capture the full aspect of the music on his own. He contacted some friends of his from the early recording sessions and soon enough pianist Anna Wuerth, bassist Zak Moses, and multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, guitar, violin) Ryan Stolte-Sawa were full-on members of the group. After a couple of months of practicing without percussion, Luke Brevoort got in touch with Carlos, jelled immediately with all of the members and came on as the group's drummer. As each new member joined, new dimensions were added to the music and soon enough the 5-piece was playing local shows in and around Columbus. Quick on the heels of these first shows came press photos, album art, a bit of Internet buzz and an upcoming spot in MTV2's On the Rise series.
Flotation Walls' huge, orchestral sound is vaguely reminiscent of a cleaner, less frantic Frog Eyes or a more melodic and richer Sunset Rubdown and while it's some of the most textured, involved music around it still maintains a crisp, compelling atmosphere. The four songs so far available on the band's Myspace page are tied together by this aesthetic but vary greatly in theme, tempo and mood. "Worms" is foreboding and slightly menacing before ending in a bright, tentatively hopeful chorus while "Kids Look at the Waves" is somber and reflective, matching the slow, sweet tones of the contemplative "Timmy Twofingers." The transformative "Willis the Fireman," however, is the highlight beginning with a soft melodic hum before delivering a dramatic, celebratory, grandiose climax.
The band's full debut, NATURE, is set to finish in early spring and if the tidbits already available are any indication it should be one of the high points of 2008.