Track x Track: Floodlights - Painting of My Time

Track x Track: Floodlights - Painting of My Time

Naarm/Melbourne-based five-piece talk us through their awesome second album of art rock and post-punk sounds

Image credit: Maclay Heriot

After dropping their acclaimed debut album From A View in 2020 and making a name for themselves with their blistering live shows and relentless touring schedule (including recently supporting Pavement), Floodlights are back with album number two, Painting of My Time.

Heading into the studio for three days during spring 2021, the five-piece recorded live to tape during the sessions that would go on to become Painting of My Time. A more than worthy follow-up to their debut, Painting of My Time sees the band evolving their sound and songwriting across 10 tracks of art rock, post-punk and Australian rock & roll with plenty of twists and turns. Alongside big guitar hooks and commanding rhythm sections come flourishes of trumpet, piano, strings and synths, adding to the rich, layered sound of the LP.

With Painting of My Time out today, the band took us on a deep dive through the record - have a listen and get to know below!

Moment of Distraction was the first spark of the future sound for the band; more triumphant than ever. Written shortly after recording their debut - From a View - Floodlights sought a new direction and a sense of change whilst retaining what made them unique. It seems fitting that the first track written for Painting of My Time ended up being the opening song to the album, drawing a distinctive line between the past and what was to come. Perhaps a product of subconscious reflection on their previous work.

The song explores the emotional ebbs and flows of life and looks at how we try to cope in troubling times. It speaks of the feeling of impending sadness or angst that lies amongst fleeting moments of absolute happiness. In a natural desire to evolve, Floodlights introduced theatrical vocals, dramatic instrumentation and a constant mindfulness for playing the song live. New influences along with shifting tastes and a changing world further added to the way that this song formed and how it shaped the making of their second album. “I wrote this song in an attempt to express what goes on inside my head. Sometimes, to write about the shadows that pull down on my smile feels like some kind of escapism and coping mechanism” - Parsons.

The roaring lead single Lessons Learnt is a striking reflection on ingrained views and the potential hope of breaking free. Initially beginning as a short poem, it was written on a hot day during lockdown somewhere along the Merri Creek in Northcote, where Kehoe currently resides. The chorus line “Lessons learnt, lessons forgotten, how can history repeat so often” came first and from there the song was sculpted. Lyrically, the song is a reflection on how often the same mistakes are made over and over, in everyday life and the political sphere. How easy it is to say you are going to change something, but how often we fall back into the same behaviour patterns and make the same choices. It offers hope that we don't always have to repeat the same thing, we can take stock from what has happened and move forward in a new direction.

The use of repetition, marching rhythms and powerful instrumentation mirrored the lyrics to create an anthemic driving force. This is the most vigour ever revealed by the band, with each instrument pulsing and distorting in a chaotic harmony. The triumphant apex creeps up on you, then the song vanishes into thin air, just like every punk rock effort should.

Influenced by similar themes, Colours explores the challenge of holding onto the pleasures that make you happy and how the sense of contentment once felt from something can feel so elusive as time passes. Inspired by the Velvet Underground’s use of drones, Floodlights incorporated a continuous and unchanging synth as a means of capturing the sombre yet hopeful mood of the lyrics. It is this sense of emotional turbulence that is so prevalent throughout the album, particularly in Something Blue.

Something Blue is the group’s most ambitious effort to date. It represents an attempt to understand the inner thoughts of an enigmatic dear friend. A person that can be reclusive but also the life of the party. The words for this song came about from putting distance between two people which can often prompt a reflection of what it is that draws us to the people we love. The thoughtful layering of instrumentation in Something Blue almost feels like telling this very story in another language. Complex yet harmonious, the moving and intertwining instruments all symbolise the intricate aspects of the protagonist. An intentional omission of drums in this track lets the raw vocals of Parsons standout amongst the melodic and rhythmic music whilst also allowing the album, as a whole, to breathe.

Similarly, Things You Do explores the alluring uniqueness of people, and that ultimately it is our differences that we are attracted to. Raw and frontal vocals help this song to create a sense of vulnerability and passion. The eager build of instruments foreshadow the eruption that is Parsons’ lyrical climax, and final line - “The factory of your thoughts, makes joy for me” - where we then see Floodlights enter their most expansive form. A thunderous choir channels an uplifting choral anthem, guitars roar, grand piano descends, Shannon throwing every last bit of heart into the four-to-the-floor rhythmic cacophony.

Like the bulk of Floodlights’ discography; On The Television, Wide Open Land, Lessons Learnt and the album’s title track Painting of My Time all began as poems, written by Kehoe during the long days of a Melbourne lockdown in 2021. The line “Lessons learnt, lessons forgotten” came first and from there the lyrics were shaped - urgently questioning how the same mistakes are so often repeated throughout history. Floodlights built upon this lyrical idea to create a commanding, driving anthem through the use of dual male and female vocals, marching drums, and forceful guitar and harmonica lines. This use of power and heavier hitting musicality was also drawn upon for Painting of My Time. The track is a building of energy in every sense, both lyrically and sonically. It creates a visceral feeling of anticipation and desire, through its use of bold vocals and a choir like chorus. Kehoe says “I wrote these lyrics as a way of expressing the strong feelings of anticipation and excitement for what life can offer and the desire to make the most of it while you can”. The choruses are high-octane and uplifting, as the band sings a rendition of the new Floodlights mantra.

Wide Open Land builds upon Floodlights’ explorations into the use of the Australian landscape as a form of escapism. It reflects influences of 80’s Australian rock to create the nostalgic, visceral desire you feel to get back to places that for while have only been experienced through memory. Similarly, On The Television looks at the country around us, reflecting upon the Australian national identity of egalitarianism, mateship and the fair go. It questions what the national identity is built off and how genuine it truly is. The powerful female vocal of Kehoe takes centre stage in the first and only verse of the song, in what feels like new punk orientated territory for the band.

Floodlights Painting of My Time Cover

The album artwork was originally taken from a watercolour painting by Martin George - a friend and acclaimed Naarm/Melbourne artist who now resides in Rotterdam.

The Ear symbolises observation, perception and interpretation. It is a means through which we receive the world around us. No two people perceive life the same way; no two people tell the same story. Visually, The Ear could be seen as an obscure question mark - which underpins one of the intentions of our songwriting in this album: to explore different aspects of our lived experiences and observations.” - Bassist, Joe Draffen.

PAINTING OF MY TIME – ALBUM TOUR DATES 2023 

Friday, 26 May | The Bridge, Castlemaine, VIC | tickets HERE 
Saturday, 27 May | Lion Arts, Adelaide, SA – tickets HERE 
Friday, 2 June | Alice Springs Brewing, Alice Springs, NT – tickets HERE 
Sunday, 4 June | Railway Club, Darwin, NT 
Wednesday, 7 June | La La La's, Wollongong, NSW – tickets HERE 
Thursday, 8 June | VIVID, Sydney, NSW – tickets HERE 
Friday, 9 June | The Corner, Melbourne, VIC – tickets HERE 
Saturday, 10 June | Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC – tickets HERE 
Sunday, 11 June | Volta, Ballarat, VIC – tickets HERE
Thursday, 15 June | The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD – tickets HERE
Friday, 16 June | Mos Desert House, Gold Coast, QLD – tickets HERE
Saturday, 17 June | Sol Bar, Sunshine Coast, QLD – tickets HERE
Sunday, 18 June | Bangalow Bowlo, Bangalow, NSW – tickets HERE
Friday, 23 June | Settlers, Margaret River, WA – tickets HERE
Saturday, 24 June | Badlands, Perth, WA – tickets HERE
Sunday, 25 June | Mojos, Fremantle, WA – tickets HERE

Follow Floodlights: Instagram / Facebook

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