Giving flowers as a token of affection has always struck me as a bit weird. Plucked from the soil, it’s only a matter of time before their petals brown and their leaves curl, their heads wilting before they shrivel and die while your loved one watches on. It doesn’t matter whether you pick them fresh from the ground or buy them in a plastic wrapper along with a Crunchie and copy of the Daily Star from a petrol station – because I guess you forgot Valentine’s Day for the third year in a row and you realise that all you know about your long-suffering spouse is that she likes lilies and everyone likes Crunchies so what the hell – all flowers eventually give up the ghost and die. A bit like love, I suppose. So maybe giving flowers is less weird and actually kind of fitting, albeit in a pretty morbid way.
London’s Nilüfer Yanya gets it. Her new release, a slow, moody guitar track titled ‘The Florist’, begins with the title character assembling a bouquet of flowers (that are dead anyway, Yanya is keen to point out) and culminates, fittingly, in the breakdown of a relationship. “Why you leaving me for?” Yanya pleads, her rich, textured vocals laden with a sad, but ultimately resigned, desperation.
Yanya’s cool, echoey guitar, layered with gentle, thudding percussion makes for a dizzying, intoxicating listen, a fizz of melancholy and quiet, but acutely painful, heartbreak. As the track nears its end, it bubbles to a restrained crescendo, the percussion becoming more fraught, Yanya singing wistfully over the melt of melancholic guitars in a mournful elegy for a wilted relationship.
Delicate, poetic and beautifully composed, ‘The Florist’ marks Nilüfer Yanya as one to watch in 2017.