Flasher-Constant Image

So, yeah. This album is almost exactly a year old, so this is not a new music review, more like a “new music to me” review. I guess I first heard this album a year ago, but for whatever reason I dismissed it immediately as not for me and promptly forgot about it. Boy, was I wrong about it. I’m all over this album now, like, when I need to feel happy or get motivated, this is what I listen to.

There’s a giddy momentum to this album, especially the first half, but this is one of those albums, for me, that even the weaker tracks have moments that merit repeated listening.

Flasher are ostensibly a punk band, they’re from DC and affiliated with the band Priests, who I also dig. While their lyrical content can veer towards punk, the music is hardly this easily characterized. The album begins with a snarl of rising feedback on opening track “Go.” Okay, so that snarl is pretty punk, and the first lyrics, “Doing drugs at midnight,” well, you could argue that’s fairly punk too. The music thereafter…I don’t know. The vocals are almost hushed, and the guitars alternate between a muted chug and a quite nice dissonant strum. It has all the propulsion that one would expect from a song called “go.”

Track 2, “Pressure,” is where they really get down to business. The tempo is quicker, and the stop start band interplay in the verses is lovely. There are some nice, like, odd choices as far as percussion is concerned, like, is somebody smacking the shit out of a woodblock? Are those TR 808 claps? The keys add a little sugar to the mix also.

My favorite track, without a doubt, is “Sun Come and Golden.” It’s just, like so sexy. The guitar tone is fucking unbelievably buttery, and the shaker percussion makes me want to shake my ass. The keys are understated here, airy and spacey. They give the guitars plenty of room to play around with each other. If I was like in a movie, and I wanted to come out looking like, sultry lol, I would absolutely choose this song.

“Material” is up next, and it’s tits too, building from angular riffs, like if Fugazi were a pop band, into a transcendent chorus with vocal harmonies galore. Great stuff.

Rounding out the opening salvo is “XYZ,” which could be like a New Pornographers song. I mean that as a compliment, this shit is incredibly well written. It’s about internet culture I think, but that really doesn’t matter. What matters is the transformation the song undergoes in the second half. I don’t even want to describe it, because I want your face to light up with a smile the way mine did when I heard what they were doing.

Coming after that, it’s no wonder it feels like they slow down or like loosen up a little bit, but the rest of it has crazy value. Listen to “Who’s Got Time” for its glammy snarls. “Skim Milk” boasts the cathartic and very punk chant “No future, No fate,” and those chanted “as thoughs” really set it up. Stick with “Harsh Light,” for the weird anti-solo, where the rhythm is more important and prominent than the modest guitar pyrotechnics. Give “Punching Up,” time and listen to the intricately layered vocals.

The album has a great closer in “Business Unusual.” It’s got an infectious chorus and one of my favorite sax parts in recent history. It ends, weirdly, with the pretty refrain, “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” It can make you feel like shit if you think about it too hard, but I can’t stop listening and singing along. I can’t recommend this album enough.

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