The three unique members of D.C. band Flasher had been uniquely intertwined—subtract or swap a participant, and also you threat drastically altering or destroying what made them so particular within the first place. Their acclaimed 2018 debut album, Fixed Picture, was marked by a spring-loaded post-punk exuberance, their shared lead vocals, and patchwork-style lyrics written collaboratively as a trio. Just a few years after the album was launched, bassist Daniel Saperstein departed the band, leaving guitarist Taylor Mulitz (previously of Monks) and drummer Emma Baker to reform as a duo on their second album, Love Is Yours. The primary iteration of Flasher was such a democratic and balanced three-piece that this case raises the query: How do you progress ahead when an integral piece of you is lacking?
Love Is Yours arrives 4 years after Fixed Picture, however Mulitz and Baker aren’t attempting to copy the magic. As a substitute, they go for a extra contemplative sound. Their first LP was so springy that, at instances, it sounded just like the coil would possibly break. However their deliberate tempo this time round means there aren’t any tracks that verge on self-destruction. Like its predecessor, they make the most of lots of unusual guitar and synth textures, giving the document a bumpy, staticky really feel. Mulitz and Baker’s oh-so-smooth vocal preparations come to the entrance and are a giant spotlight, offering a gauziness that pairs nicely with their sawtooth guitar tones and clamorous background ambiance.
Their digital experimentation is extra distinguished on Love Is Yours—the album opens with a collection of percussive hisses, and muffled frequencies are peppered all through the album. On the latter half of “Harm,” Flasher pivot in the direction of darkish, whooshing electro-pop, and the instrumental “Pink” is a hypnotic blitz of contorted synths. Baker additionally takes on extra lead vocal duties than earlier than, excelling particularly on the tender, wistful chorus of album opener “I Noticed You” and the tongue-in-cheek punk supply of the verses on “I’m Higher.”
Whereas Fixed Picture grappled with coping mechanisms amid the pervasive, immaterial pressure that nags on the human spirit, Love Is Yours is about the way to nurture (or discard) relationships that preserve you sane throughout tough instances. “Harm” and “Tangerine” seize the act of untethering from manipulative individuals, the previous seemingly with a extra clear-cut postmortem and closure, the latter with deeper, extra emotional wounds. The title observe describes the life-affirming connection that may outcome from a long-term partnership (“You bought me lacking what I didn’t know I would like”) but additionally the landmines that seem as soon as you understand somebody so intimately (“I’m steps behind you, saying the flawed factor once more”). It communicates the frustration of not being on the identical web page with different individuals, however for all of the document’s melancholia, the album in the end revolves round an admirable devotion to oneself. “Give your self again/Self-respect is understanding the percentages/And seeing the trigger and impact/And the way may it’s,” Baker sings within the album’s opening traces.
What Love Is Yours lacks is identical stage of efficiency and lyrical sharpness as their debut. Gone are the explosive climaxes, the exhilarating tempo and buoyancy that made Fixed Picture really feel like such a unusually joyful pay attention. The way in which Flasher perpetually added and subtracted sonic layers on their first album additionally feels extra seamless and impactful than on Love Is Yours. Their new lyrics don’t possess the earlier document’s humor or intelligent wordplay and though they achieve heat by way of direct, susceptible writing, they lose the satisfying connection they as soon as had between their anxious guitar traces and agitated lyrics. Ignoring the shadow of its predecessor could also be tough, however Love Is Yours remains to be a compelling album of off-center energy pop and is proof that the long-held bonds of Baker and Mulitz stay simply as sturdy.
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