SQUIRREL FLOWER – “Flames and Flat Tires”

Posted: May 27, 2021 in MUSIC
Squirrel Flower by Tonje Thilesen

Like everything we’ve heard so far from Ella Williams’ latest album as Squirrel Flower, Planet (i) (June 25th, Polyvinyl), “Flames and Flat Tires” finds the rock singer/songwriter turning her insides out, addressing universal threats with sage wisdom and fearless vulnerability.

While previous singles “Hurt A Fly” and “Ill Go Running” dealt with “gaslighting, narcissistic soft-boy type shit” and “the darker side of being an artist,” respectively, “Flames and Flat Tires” cuts closest to the core of Planet (i), reckoning with a world in ruin on figurative and literal levels alike. Over darkly evocative guitars, Williams uses a banged-up car as a symbol for herself (“Busted engine or busted lung”), falling apart on its way to the finish line. The world around that road is broken, too, beset by “drought” and “firestorms”—”Trying to recall how the rain felt on my skin / And scream to anyone who’ll listen!” she repeats as the song crescendos, clinging to a time before climate catastrophe loomed at the edges of all our everyday disasters. 

Speaking of the track Ella says: “I wrote Flames on my second day of quarantine in Bristol, England ahead of recording. It was late August, hot; I was staying in a place that opened onto a party street, and every night I stayed up listening to the sounds of the revellers and the birds squawking and screaming until 6am, then all day watched people hanging laundry in their backyards through my kitchen window.”

The video was directed by Lua Borges, who elaborates: “This video is encased by the imagery of broken parts and abandonment. Objects that have become useless. Physical matter that looks so small inside our world. It gives life to an internal feeling of self-doubt and uncertainty, which the song approaches so intently. But ‘Flames and Flat Tires’ is also about fighting to overcome that, and staying present fully.”

Planet (i) is a world entirely of Williams’ making. The title came first to her as a joke: it’s her made-up name for the new planet people will inevitably settle and destroy after leaving Earth, as well as the universe imagined within her music.

The record is a love letter to disaster in every form imaginable – these songs fully embrace a planet in ruin. Buoyed by her steadfast vision and propelled by her burning comet of a voice, Planet (i) is at once a refuge, an act of self-healing, and a musical reflection of Squirrel Flower’s inner and outer worlds.

“Flames and Flat Tires” is taken from Squirrel Flower​’s sophomore album, Planet (i), out June 25th,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.