Formerly known as The Bitter Sweethearts, the four musicians that make up Flickertail were drawn together by a love of classic rock. While their debut EP carries a very solid and classic sound, it never plays as if – like so many bands doing the rounds – they’re content with hammering out tried and tested clichés and trying to be a heavier version of Free or Rival Sons. Their work sometimes has an old soul and is often very melodic, but this EP seems very keen to shake things up in places, which in this case and a world of tired sounding rock acts, is a very good thing. The purists mightn’t like that, but it’ll be their loss.
At the beginning of 2018, it was announced that this year would finally see the release of the long anticipated 3CD ‘Definitive Edition’ of Twelfth Night’s ‘Fact & Fiction’.
The original album has long been a favourite for fans of the Reading proggers, and for those fans who’ve purchased previous albums as definitive editions, each passing month suggested that the newly expanded ‘F&F’ could be the best of the lot.
With bands like No Fun At All and Millencolin helping to fly the flag and carry the banner, Sweden has provided plenty of pop punk protein since the 90s. The Hangups follow very much in the tradition of the classic Lookout! Records releases; in fact, this Malmo based trio sound like a product of a time machine experiment to bring back the best bits of Screeching Weasel and Parasites records for their debut EP.
The opening track on this self-titled disc wastes no time in flaunting their love of those particular bands. The whole number really shows a love for Dave Parasite’s melodic charm circa ‘Punch Lines’, while peppering each of the instrumental breaks with a lead guitar that would do Ben Weasel and the more approachable John Jughead proud. Digging a little deeper, obviously the vocal comes with a slight European accent which, much like Hateful Monday, provides some of the charm, but in terms of structure these guys aren’t merely just recycling Ramonescore by the (1-2-3-4) numbers. The chorus, in particular, is impressive showing a slight power pop tendency that might just about reel in a slightly broader audience. In short, if you like pop punk, you’ll love this track – it’s the perfect addition to your next digital mixtape or online playlist.
‘I Don’t Wanna Be With You’, on the other hand, is a straight up Ramones homage, just played more aggressively. In under two minutes, this shows that these Swedes are able to completely nail the style in hand; it also demonstrates their unnamed drummer really knows his way around his kit. The chorus is both sneering and insanely catchy; the lead guitar break casts an ear back to ‘My Brain Hurts’ era Weasel and the sheer energy alone is enough to make this enjoyable. Moving into something a little longer – though still shy of three minutes – ‘Alone’ mixes a punchier, more jagged rhythm with a hugely melodic vocal line. Having used a couple of numbers to warm up, it’s here The Hangups go for broke punctuating most lines with a hefty “whoah” or trusted “oh yeah!”. There are ghosts of so many classic Lookout! bands within the DNA and yet a combination of talent and boundless enthusiasm ensures this sounds anything but stale.
Last up, ‘It’s You’ is an eighty five second belter that is impossible to dislike – provided you’re punkily inclined, of course – and The Hangups take all of their previous traits and pummel them into something a touch more aggressive. While still very much of their own making – something recognisable through the accented voice – their love of pop punk again tips the hat to Screeching Weasel, but also harks back to the faster and more affronting tracks from the earlier part of No Fun At All’s catalogue (something probably ingrained due to geography). Although there’s not much time to sink your teeth in to this track – or indeed, the whole EP – there’s time enough to appreciate Hugo’s deep rattle of a bass and especially the way it locks in firmly with the work of the mystery snare basher.
Obviously, the vinyl version is the best format, but digital buyers get an extra track, ‘Not OK’. There’s little to be said, except that it ploughs a similar furrow to ‘I Don’t Wanna Be With You’ that brings a combination of speed and well worth having…
For fans of Ramonescore sounds, this is an EP that deserves to be in heavy rotation. Yes, it’s short – too short – but there’s a whole world of fun to be had listening and the band’s love for the style creeps through every note. In short, if you love Screeching Weasel, The Apers, Radio Buzzkills, Parasites and/or K7s, you’ll have a new favourite to add to your collection. Grab it as soon as possible.
Best known as the front man for Love/Hate, Jizzy Pearl releases a new solo album ‘All You Need Is Soul’ in May, which will be accompanied by a full UK tour which includes four acoustic shows in addition to a run of full band gigs.
The second track to be released from the upcoming album, ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone’ is already streaming on Spotify, but you can also check it out via the new video below.
Jizzy is scheduled to appear at London’s Camden Underworld on 13/5/2018 two days after the album’s release.
The album is Pearl’s first studio work since 2013’s ‘Crucified’ [full review here]
Over the past few years, Boss Keloid have been carving a career from very heavy riffs and a touch of progressive attitude, resulting in some weighty sounding music that has its own style.
On the basis of their new single ‘Chronosiam’, the band’s upcoming album – their fourth release – ‘Melted On The Inch’ could be one of their finest to date.