Thursday, April 15, 2010
THE FLATLINERS: CAVALCADE
Fat Wreck Chords
"Itemise your life in a panicked state so you can sleep at night and dream about never turning old and grey."
I was sceptical at first – it seemed too clean. But Canadian punk rockers The Flatliners soon won me over with thoughtful, blood-soaked lyrics from the road, singer Chris Cresswell’s unique, ever-improving raspiness and drummer Paul Ramirez' non-stop sense of urgency. And it doesn't hurt that the album sounds insane! Just like their 2007 Fat Wreck debut, The Great Awake, The Flatliners recorded Cavalcade back home in Toronto, at Drive Studios.
Mostly, the guitars are smooth and simple - with feeling. The songs tick along thanks to Ramirez’ subtle wizardry, Cresswell’s gritty, all-heart vocals, and bassist Jon Darbey’s charging bursts forward. Ramirez is a slave driver, the tempos are perfect: fast and driving.
But as good as Cavalcade sounds so far, out comes a song like “Here Comes Treble" - they were only cruising. With its epic anthem-like intro, its fast, punk rock intensity and Cresswell’s notes-from-the-road words to his family and friends, it takes your breath away.
"Now listen father, I need to tell you all I've learned from you is written on my face as I drive round the world in disgrace. Does the telephone ring? Can't wait to show you what a jaded fuck I've become."
"I'll waste my life and never make up the time. Are you still happy to see my pale face?"
Even when they slow down, nobody does a mellow, dirty ska song quite like The Flatliners. Slow, simple guitars, meaty, power-ska drums and Cresswell screaming his lungs dry. “He Was a Jazzman,” Cavalcade’s lone ska-punk representative, builds steadily to a powerful, eye-scraping end.
Cavalcade really peaks after that. “Monumental” is a gang vocal-powered, epic slower one that never loses its edge. "Sleep Your Life Away" keeps the momentum going, ending with the line, “I think that’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard. How marvelous," from the The Princess Bride (1987). And then “New Year’s Resolution” bursts faster than anything else so far, ending Cavalcade with a bang, Cresswell's steadily bubbling heart boiling over and burning a hole in his throat.
order Cavalcade from Fat Wreck Chords
The Making of Cavalcade Part 1: