The Flatliners

The Great Awake

Written by: PP on 23/01/2008 16:37:02

Why are Canadian bands always so much better than their American counterparts? I\'m afraid that question has no answer, but The Flatliners, hailing from the ever-amazing Ontario music scene, live up to that reputation with their sophomore album \"The Great Awake\", which is about to push all your right buttons if ska-influenced melodic punk rock is your thing.

The strengths of \"The Great Awake\" are its variety and its convincing energy. Its opened by \"July! August! Reno!\", a great song which has riffs about as intricate as you\'ll get to witness in punk rock. Not intricate in the complex, technical meaning of the word like A Wilhelm Scream style, but in terms of how many layers the band\'s able to slap on despite the relatively high pace. Vocalist Cresswell\'s throaty vocals immediately remind you Leftöver Crack and The Lawrence Arms, but that was to be expected, this is a Fat Wreck Chords release after all.

\"Eulogy\" follows up where the first track left off; pretty basic three chord riffs in the start, which expand into layered chords nearer the chorus, which is probably the catchiest and most energetic one on the record. I\'ve always admired the ability of punk bands to write amazing choruses undeterred by the manic speeds they often play at, and The Flatliners are no exception. Throw in a couple of well placed gang vocals and you\'ve got some damn likable melodic punk rock right here.

The band mixes it up a bit on some tracks as well, sounding more ska and reggae than melodic punk. \"This Respirator\" is laid back in that way, with a chilled out ska-beat and a bit of a reggae-ish rhythmic feel to it. Likewise, \"Mastering The Worlds Smallest Violin\" makes you think of a third wave ska band like Catch 22 or RX Bandits, only with slightly coarser vocal work.

Because of these different styles that are scattered across the record, \"The Great Awake\" doesn\'t become a monotonous listening experience, which is a problem keeping many music fans away from the beautiful world of punk rock. Even if The Flatliners basically sound like a more straightforward version of a ska-spiked The Lawrence Arms, they do their job well and have me dancing to their self-proclaimed \"skunk rock\". Get the record if you\'re into punk records that are fun to listen to.

Download: Eulogy, July! August! Reno!, Mastering The World\'s Smallest Violin
For the fans of: The Lawrence Arms, Leftöver Crack, The Heatskores
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Release date 04.09.2007
Fat Wreck Chords

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