Reviewed by Bec Hennessy
Canadian four piece The Flatliners are four albums down and not slowing any. ‘Dead Language‘ opens with contemplative guitars dissolving into that frenetic punk tempo. A race between the drums and the bass, elbowing each other, neck and neck to the finish line. Vocals wavering in and out of gruffness and harmony nicely, whilst proclaiming ‘I’m coming back to life again, resuscitation of the year.‘ By ‘Bury Me‘ my foot is tapping, cliché but true. That bass line. Those punchy drums. While the guitars rain distortion in the background. The vocals just a bit sweeter, endearing them to me even more.
‘Birds of England‘ slows it down a bit with big drum beats, splashy cymbals, and rock guitar. ‘Drown in Blood‘s vocals take centre stage – raw, hoarse and direct. Chorus ‘I drown in blood, watch it cleanse my skin’ has a Distillers Brody Dalle feel, vocally and lyrically, while musically it takes the punk pace down a couple notches, which I enjoy and think works well. This song is definitely a highlight.
At least, I thought it was my clear favourite until the bubbling bass line and harsh ringing guitar of ‘Sew My Mouth Shut’ busts in after it. The chorus refrain ‘Sew my mouth so I can’t say a word, it just gets me in trouble, trouble I’m not worth. Sew my mouth shut so I can’t even breathe, what would life be like without me?‘ lyrically dour, but musically catchy as fuck.
By ‘Ashes Away‘ I’ve done a double take at the song titles and realised the dark theme going on here (yeah I’m a bit slow). A seriousness hidden under the frenzied punk rock tempo that always seems to sound upbeat even if it’s lyrically downbeat. One of the things I love about punk music.
‘Hounds‘ has some sweet damn dirty rock guitar, while ‘Dead Hands‘ sees the vocals becoming deliciously hoarse screams. ‘Tail Feathers’ is the clear and final winner for my heart. Slow thumping twin heartbeats of drums and bass. That strolling, laconic guitar and gruff, honest plaintive vocals. There’s even some group woah-ohs in the end here.
Certainly, these dudes do honest straight up punchy punk rock and do it well. If that’s your genre I defy you to listen to this and not find your foot at least twitching.