‘Aquatic Flowers’ is singer/songwriter/poet/businesswoman Tristen Gaspadarek’s fourth album, produced and recorded with her husband and band mate Buddy Hughen in Nashville where she’s based. Full of dreamy, bittersweet melodies these are songs which offer light in these uncertain times.
Catchy opener Complex questions those instincts we all have for self-sabotage, and tries to face up to her own fears and short comings. I don’t know why I act this way... she muses to herself. Her musical touch is unfussy, creating a breezy indie pop sound throughout the album. The end of the song layers her singing ‘I love you’ with ‘I’m so scared’ suggesting her internal struggle has yet to be fully resolved. Self doubt becomes a trap on Wrong With You, where the deep ‘grooves’ of her loathing work to destabilise confidence in her relationship.
On Die 4 Love she sings about the fact that ‘everything else is so empty in these times’, and the only thing left to cling on to is love. The sentiment may sound almost twee in a way but there’s a passionate wisdom to her words. The jangly, sugary ‘I Need Your Love’ has a witty, light hearted tone, longing for love no matter who it might be with.
Athena is dedicated to the overlooked and underrated warrior goddess of the title, connecting her story to the sorrow of our own broken and violent world. Co-written with Lera Lynn, the song perfectly channels and honours female strength and power.
On Julian she explores motherhood with a wistful eye. Stories of Our Love is a lesson in self-acceptance where she reminds us You can’t change the world, but you can change yourself. Remember how to give. The album finishes with the escape of sleep on Say Goodnight, a reminder that our sorrows will end eventually, one way or another. All things must pass.
On ‘Aquatic Flowers’ Tristen offers us a little lifeboat in the tumultuous waves of this world. The storm may not be over anytime soon but at least these songs are a delightful, diverting distraction.