November 18, 2010
Review: Botany – Feeling Today EP
If ever an EP came out at the wrong time of year, it’s this. Spencer Stephenson’s debut is brimming with beat-driven compositions drenched in sun and hazey, chillwave melodies. Even his choice of moniker conjures images of greenhouses and lush flora. The shimmering tone of Feeling Today is in evidence from its opening title track, a slice of dream pop that virtually swells. Ashley Rathburn’s vocal emphasises the carefree nature of the EP as a whole, urging the listener to “take your time, throw your troubles away”, almost a direct descendant of another of this year’s sun-tinged songs: Cult’s Go Outside.
Stephenson’s style slots nicely in alongside those of Caribou and Four Tet, and references to both can be heard through his sampling of interesting instrumentation and sounds. Benefactress provides a reflective calm, complete with bird sounds and meandering drums, while Minnow Theme is a pure and joyful charge, wearing its Manitoba influence on its sleeve. Waterparker is similarly uptempo and upbeat, as if someone had locked the young Texan in his room with a sampler and the Beach Boy’s back catalogue.
Internet research suggests that Feeling Today is only a precursor to Stephenson’s debut full length, a consequence of years amassing music and cultivating (pun intended) the Botany sound. If the album continues in the vein of EP closer Agave, the insistent hypnotism of its four-to-the-floor rhythms and competently building structure proving a highlight of an already fascinating set, the results could be exceptional. Quick as you can please sir.