A case study in misplaced punk
With Iron Flowers’ opening line, “Mama, just killed a man,”
Grey DeLisle certainly grabs your attention. But not much on this record, not even the surprising lead track—an elegiac cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”—holds your interest for long. With 2004’s The Graceful Ghost
, DeLisle explored morbidly dark Civil War themes, and now with Flowers
she gives similar treatment to cowboy westerns, her quivering delivery applied to selections like “Joanna,” “Who Made You King” and “Inside Texas.” But she muddies the wonderful turn-of-the-century feel with soulless, hurried turns into punk rock that grate as mercilessly as that teenage neighbor’s garage band hacking away next door. The idea of a CBGB-show-gone-wrong on a John Wayne movie soundtrack isn’t progressive, just annoying.