The Flatliners have come a long way from the ‘Destroy To Create’ days. Don’t get me wrong, that album is a full throttled punch to the head. But from The Great Awake onwards, these guys have blossomed into some of the most sincere and mature sounding bands in their particular corner of the punk scene today.
‘Dead Language’ earlier this year saw them release their fourth full length record since 2005. And while it may not have quite measured up to 2010’s ‘Cavalcade’ in terms of pound for pound quality, it was another strong release in an already impressive career.
‘Caskets Full’ is the first single to come out on the heels of ‘Dead Language’. Here it’s backed with two other finely formed scorchers in ‘Wynford Bridge’ and Tony Sly cover ‘Fireball’, which originally appeared on the masterful Tony Sly tribute album a few weeks ago.
The Flatliners are one hell of a cover band. Whether taking a stab at Johnny Cash (‘Cry, Cry, Cry), Rocket From The Crypt (‘Straight American Slave’) or Austrian punkers Astpai (‘Southwards’) The Flatliners always bring a fresh spin to whatever they decide to squeeze through their particular musical ringer. In this particular release’s case, that spin is put in motion on Tony Sly’s song ‘Fireball’ from his brilliant 2010 solo release ’12 Step Program.’ The song itself is, like all of Sly’s music but particularly his solo work, a highly emotional tale of hope in the midst of hard times. The lyrics sound great coming out of Chris Cresswell’s mouth and the rockier treatment The Flatliners give the song leave it with all of its power to move. It was a great pick by the band for Tony Sly’s tribute and a great capper to this release.
I don’t know where ‘Wynford Bridge’ came from. It could be a castaway from the ‘Dead Language’ sessions, or an older newer song, or a brand new song birthed especially for this release. The Flatliners are a hard working group of guys and between their full length releases, their 7” releases and all their splits with various bands, I sense they’re never far from a studio laying down an album’s worth of tracks to be peppered out in between their full lengths. What I do know is, like Oasis before them (you’ll never see that comparison made again) The Flatliners are a band whose b-sides are often as good as their a-sides. ‘Wynford Bridge’ touches on familiar themes for the band: stark imagery and desolate landscapes forming a sharp picture that seems cynical but often ends up being hopeful in a challenging sort of way. The music is pure punk rock energy infused with catchy melodies and heartfelt chorus’. Classic Flatliners, then.
Finally, ‘Caskets Full’ is from ‘Dead Language’ and is a wise choice for a first single as it actually is one of the best songs on the record (it’s hard to believe how often that isn’t the case).
Once again, catchy melodies and gang vocal-ed chorus’ are joined by tommy gun drumming and throaty proclamations of youth in unity living as if tomorrow never comes. The buzzing, bending guitars tying everything together in a pretty (punk rock) bow and creating a fine taster’s choice package of songs from one of the scene’s best and most consistent bands.