Local Review: Kipper Snack – Pretty as a Flower
Local Music Reviews
Pretty as a Flower
Kipper Snack = Elephant Overdrive + Seabear + Daddy’s Beemer
Anyone who has immersed themselves in the Salt Lake music scene knows that Kipper Snack packs a punch with their emotionally invigorating songs. Led by vocalist and guitarist Sean Mena, their latest release, Pretty as a Flower, is no different.
At first listen, Pretty as a Flower comes off as a cheerful, lively and easy-going album with its intermingling psychedelic and folk sounds. Effortlessly combining ’80s-inspired synths, piano, banjos and more, this album’s sound is one completely unique to Kipper Snack. Delving deeper into the lyrics, they reveal that this album is anything but happy. Fully written, recorded, produced and mixed by Mena, this album acts as a personal exploration of the musician’s past emotional hardships. Spoiler alert—if you listen to this album, you’re going to cry (a lot).
“A mother’s love is more beautiful than any fresh flower.” ―Debasish Mridha
Pretty as a Flower consists of a short collection of songs, clocking in at seven tracks and only 22 minutes. The story of this album revolves around the loss of Mena’s mother, a theme apparent in each song. “Numb” starts off the album with two minutes of an instrumental entanglement featuring morning birds, children laughing, soft guitar licks and oscillating synths. Using an instrumental first track does a wonderful job of setting the mood for the whole album, as sometimes pain can leave you too numb for words.
“Summer” is easily my personal favorite, and it’s no surprise as to why. Arguably the most upbeat and seemingly least depressing song on Pretty as a Flower. “Summer” boasts the soothing aesthetic mixture of ethereal dream pop and distorted psychedelic rock that Kipper Snack is known for. Pair Kipper Snack’s heavily sedating sound with Mena’s soft, comfortable and noticeably heartbroken voice, earns this track a blue ribbon in hypnotics and limitless listenability.
Blissful guitar riffs start off ”Mama” as Mena’s words begin to sink in. “And Jesus, can you tell me, please how to get over this hurt / I know she’s tired, I know she’s cold, missing all the hair upon her head that brought her warmth / But Jesus I want to thank you for giving me 20 years with her.”
“Stick it With Me” combines a multitude of different sounds, from the highly harmonic vocals and catchy guitar riffs to the folky acoustic intro to the cascading piano solos found halfway through the song. Despite switching genres within the song, it’s still the lyrics that stick with me. They depict the job of a mom, that person who will be there for you even when times are at their toughest: “Sweetest girl I’ve loved, sweetest girl in town / And you’re still nice to me even when I’m not nice to you / When we kiss goodbye, please let me go first because I can’t live a life that’s going without her.”
Mena makes the themes and intentions behind Pretty as a Flower apparent, telling the intimate story of a mother’s unconditional love that most people would not be comfortable bestowing to the Internet. The concoction of genres and emotionally debilitating lyrics have created a personal homage to not only Mena’s mother but to all mothers out there. The gut-wrenching vulnerability displayed in this album is unparalleled; it seems almost virtually impossible for listeners not to follow along and connect with the lyrics. Whether or not you listen to this album for the ambitious music or the stunning gloom of poetic lyricism, Kipper Snack will undoubtedly capture your heart one way or another. –Sage Holt