When you first look at Flagland‘s new record, you’re probably going to find it a bit daunting; it’s 20 songs, which for some might be a lot, but don’t let that deter you. Love Hard deserves your listening ears. The listen is all over the place, but while that might be tiresome to a few, it actually makes the entire journey quite fun.
“Superlove” casually opens the adventure with a strummed guitar and calming vocal, before the rough edges start to shine a little bit. Those gritty bits make their way as the opening to “Searchers,” but stick around for the pounding drum and maneuvering bass line that leads the way for a nice bit of distorted guitar work. While the rhythm bounces along there’s some stuttering vocals to clear the way for the knifing guitar bits. Then you’re jumped into a fast-paced rocker via “Swingin,” which resembles a quickened Southern garage tune. But, Flagland slows things down for a bit.
“Happiness” is more of a pop song disguised as an anthemic guitar tune. There’s a touch of frailty to the vocal performance, and to show they don’t mind being their own act, they even toss in some space-age samples. The tune hops a long to catch little end. Then you’re quickly given another slow burner via “Not a Joke.” It sounds like a catchy garage demo, but I mean that in a good way. Personally, I’d skip a song or two and find yourself at one of the stand outs of Love Hard, “Monster.” There’s a familiarity to this track, though I can’t quite put my finger on it (early Liars may haps). Regardless, it’s a pummeling tune that definitely provides your angst with an outlet.
You see, Flagland doesn’t stay in one place for long, and while I admit that I know that’s troubling for listeners, it’s made the listens enjoyable because you’re not inundated with a monotonous style. One of my favorite tracks as you move to the latter half of the record is “Sugarcube.” It blurs the lines between pop-punk and power-pop, catchy in every sense of the word. It goes along well with “It’s Your Time,” which might be the best song that J Mascis forgot to write. Vocals are pleasant while the distorted guitars have a heavier tonal quality; the last time I played the record, it was my favorite jam of that round.
It’s refreshing to come across a record like Love Hard. Sometimes you get bogged down with one sound or one sonic direction from a band, but Flagland aim to keep things interesting. They add snippets and quick songs to keep the pace of the record moving forward, then fleshing out your listen with longer numbers. If you’re tired of the same old thing, then you’ll want to pick up this album.
Download: Flgland – Sugarcube [MP3]