Flood Of Red


Written by: TL on 12/08/2014 14:38:19

Back in 2009, while corporate emocore was losing traction and having a characteristic high-pitched singer was becoming obligatory for post-hardcore bands, Scottish sextet Flood Of Red prevailed against considerable odds when their debut album "Leaving Everything Behind" attempted to develop the Chiodos-like screamo sound from their 2007 EP "Lost In The Light", trying to stay ahead of the times with a dreamy, ambiant, Circa Survive-esque experimental rock that raised quite a few eyebrows. Truth be told though, I could not for the life of me get into that record, which has nagged me since, especially after loving the band's live appearance at 2011's Hevy Fest in Port Lympne. Since then though, the silence around the band has been eerie to say the least, though 2012's "They Must Be Building Something" was a pretty clear sign of life, yet it eventually took the group 'til this year to get their second album "Throw" out, which I've been spending time with in hopes of "getting it" this time around.

The thing is that Flood Of Red have the ingredients for something awesome. That much is plain to hear from the mix of chiming keys, wailing guitars, vibrant bass and a high, textured croon for a vocal, complete with endearing Scottish accent of course. The style is part dreamy, part noisy and while it's hard to not think of bands like Circa Survive and Secret And Whisper when you hear Flood, calling them post-hardcore or progressive doesn't seem quite right. Things simply never get heavy enough for the former term and rarely technical or intricate enough for the latter.

In fact, when at their best on "Throw", Flood Of Red seem to follow a recipe that involves starting numbers subtly and with focus being on echoing atmosphere, to then gradually inch the foot closer towards a pedal setup that brings the noise in howling, post-rock-ish climaxes. An early example of this is "Part Truth / Part Fiction" which has a recognisable guitar scale at its core and a decent refrain melody in the chorus section that sounds good when it's belted later in the song. In the same category, first single "Lashes" is perhaps the most accessible song the band has written, and better for it, hinting its power in the first pair of choruses before really flexing its muscles in an end that is likely to be the main takeaway from the record overall.

Moving across the mid-section, it becomes increasingly clear that it's the powerful parts that seize your attention, further proven by the barrage that is unleashed just past the middle of "Whispers And Choirs" or by the cascading melodies at the end of "Cutting Limes". Regretably though, these parts are only deployed modestly by the band, which is a problem because Flood Of Red's dynamic setup is not as captivating as one could have hoped. It's a no-brainer that the ambition has been to create a dynamic between the pretty and the heavy, but the result feels more like "the dull and the heavy". The vocal- and guitarwork often feels too sleepy - too monotonous, to tug properly at the listener and lead us from subtle beginnings to resolving crescendo, and in the songs that mean to diversify the record by being mainly quiet, - songs like "Hiding Out" and "Ye Die, Ye Die", you'll be likely to doze off more often than not.

Consequentially, "Throw" is a lot less interesting than curious parties like myself would have hoped, considering that "Leaving Everything Behind" cast the band like one that had all the potential they needed simply waiting to be resolved. The songwriting just feels too simple, the soundscape too homogenous and the timing too loose, in the sense that movements often take too many bars before developing or at least breaking off in an ear-catching fashion. And when closer "White Russian" comes around with something that sounds like a string arrangement (but might be guitar) and a more strikingly organ-like key sound, I can't but wonder where such nuances were earlier, and why they've only been employed in the endlessly patient drone here. Regardless, while the high points of "Throw" aren't any lesser than those I hear on most decent records these days, they're forgotten almost as soon as their songs end, and they drown too easily in the only halfway resolved surrounding material. So despite numerous attempts then, it seems "Throw" will be a footnote for me, where I was hoping for a monument.

Download: Lashes, Cutting Limes, Whispers And Choirs, Part Truth / Part Fiction
For The Fans Of: Circa Survive, Tides Of Man, Secret And Whisper, Wolves And Machines
Listen: facebook.com/floodofred

Release date 30.06.2014
Superball Music

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