Emily Rowan is a singer, piano basher, uke toter and glitter addict. Simon Bolley is a musician who plays drums like the lead guitarist he is. Together they are Flora Greysteel, a York-based duo who officially formed in 2015, but who have collaborative roots stretching back to 2009. Basing their sound in piano, drum kit and female vocals, the band use a wide variety of other instruments including ukulele, thumb piano and assorted small percussion, not to mention the widespread use of loop pedal.
Melancholic, strident, bittersweet, Flora Greysteel make music that opens the door to fairy tale worlds that exist all around us. Emily’s sincere vocals bleed through otherworldly songs that speak to the heart, while Simon’s athleticism, drum antics and jocular nature bely the depth and integrity of his contributions.
The band has such a wide array of influences (Dresden Dolls, Santana, Imogen Heap to name just a few) as to render genre meaningless: elements of cabaret, rip-roaring choruses twinned with choral elegance at once give way to moments of intimate reflection, sea shanties and electronica-pop. They are as adept at using simplicity as they are at raucous noise, and keep enough tongue in cheek to entertain. Colourful, theatrical and wrapped up with a glittery bow, Flora Greysteel are at once spectacle and spectator, beguiling audiences with an openness that can’t help but be returned.