“Dead Flowers speaks volumes about where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished.” Nick Skalkos, drummer of Kitchener, Ontario’s long-cherished soldiers of rock, The Miniatures, has hit the nail on the head. Dead flowers, the fragile remnants of ultimate beauty - It’s a powerful image, conjuring at once sorrow, celebration, love, war, and, of course, a loving nod to the Brits. The Miniatures have, after over a decade of honing their considerable talents, painted their masterpiece and it’s a rich call-to-arms, championing all of these classic, unfaltering themes.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist Ian Smith, drummer Nick Skalkos, bassist Ryan Allen, and keyboardist/guitarist Kevin Hundt found themselves in a changed band after the release of their debut album, Coma Kid, in 2004. To expand his inspirations, Smith took several sojourns to Britain to refine his muse and explore the brains of like-minded collaborators. He found the yin to his yang in producer Scott Shields, (Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros). “I met Scott during the ‘Canada Comes A-Calling’ tour with Pilate, Lowest Of The Low, The Marble Index, and Hunter Eves we did a few years back and there was an instant connection,” says Smith. “There weren’t any other options after I met him.”
The songs that Smith would pen in Britain became the blueprint for Dead Flowers, which was recorded by Shields and Dan Achen (Junkhouse), at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton, and the Townhouse in London. The end result is a rolling, pulsing, ambitious tour through Smith’s poetic musings on the human condition. Lead-off single “Dead Flowers” bursts at the seams with Smith’s soaring falsetto, Hundt’s creeping, lurching synths, and the tourniquet-tight funk of the Allen/Skalkos rhythm section. “A Life I Had In Mind” finds Smith questioning the miles he’s walked in his own shoes, but ultimately quelling his own fears by the sheer, uplifting conviction in the music. “Sleaze Radio” is an explosive indictment of the failings of commercial rock ‘n’ roll, anchored by Smith’s vicious guitar leads and battle-cry chorus. Positively shimmering with desperate, hopeful, and instantly memorable melodies, The Miniatures takes Bowie’s attitude, Lennon’s melodic simplicity, and the bombast of Muse and perfectly distills them into Dead Flowers.
The dichotomy of the life inherent in death; the joy in pain; the love in hate - that is what good music is about. Music, if executed with passion and conviction, will stick in the hearts and ears of listeners and achieve an almost supernatural quality of lifting the human spirit. This is music to believe in. The Miniatures believe in rock ‘n’ roll, and with Dead Flowers, you will again too.