Domino/Sister Polygon Records
Though it would be simple to label Flasher as a punk band, there’s far too many colours and nuances to their sound to do so fairly. Their new record brings lush production to raw riffs and a mix of harmonies that will have you entranced. With a mix of styles, sounds and instrumentation across an album that says a lot in its lyrics as well, Flasher have really brought something substantial on this album.
The grimy storytelling on “Go” really sets the proper tone for the record lyrically, sonically and in terms of how the band operates as a whole. As a sharp and short song, the track brings barrages of guitar and surprisingly groovy moments as well in the middle of it all. There’s a frantic and raspy voice to “Pressure” that almost feels like Joy Division with a little more sunny energy and immediacy to it. However it’s Flasher’s endless hooks, upped by clever harmonies, that makes it feel loose and fun.
Flasher even bring in some ’80s pop glow on “Sun Come and Golden” where they carry a nice balance of dark and light tones together. When the glistening guitar hooks play under their playful call-and-response sections however, the band really takes the track above and beyond into something as B-52’s as it is Simple Minds. A heavy feeling of protest drives “Material” as rough guitars and buzzing synths play against each other in beautiful chaos. When it all comes to a climax in the song’s fiery choruses, there’s such a euphoria it’s hard to not get caught up in it.
While “XYZ” stars off with a simple guitar line, the song becomes a dense wall of sound that is as fiercely abrasive as it is inspiring. Flasher’s harmonies and weird riffing moments even invoke a little Sleater-Kinney quirk while their fun percussion and sound-work is itself also reminiscent of the B-52’s. Punk wails open “Who’s Got Time” as the band comes together like a rallying cry to therapeutically shout away their troubles. Reflecting on the constant advice of others, the band question how anybody actually gets everything done.
Admittedly the opening verse moments to “Skim Milk” can feel too sparse for their own good, but as the song hits its stride there’s a frantic mix of hooks that keeps the song genuinely crazy. As this hits a feedback peak, the band explode into roaring bass and a mix of noise and melody so powerful you’ll want to sing and probably bounce along. As the synths take the forefront on “Harsh Light” the band take a more electronic vibe to their sound that allows them to play with what Flasher can be. As the bass drives it all, there’s also a great focus on vocal hooks that makes the song soar.
“Punching Out” gets even more experimental with sounds as the band spread their voices to the far ends of the mix while spiraling melodies around each other. As they hit a satisfying resolution to their chorus a burnt-out guitar fires through one of the dirties solos of the year so-far. The album starts closing out on “Business Unusual” with a sparse but continuously funky energy to the melodies. As the sax starts creeping in however, every little hooks gets a real kick in dance energy to end things on a great party energy.
Words by Owen Maxwell