Review : Flats - Better Living
MusicomhFlats are a band defined by anger and aggression; it is an inherent anger that fuels them and their fierce commitment to making music that pays absolutely no heed to trends, styles or hype. Flats' music is uncompromising, chaotic and, on their debut album Better Living, frequently thrilling.
Since forming in early 2010, London four-piece Flats have been outspoken and unafraid of controversy. A prime example is the repeated lyrical refrain to early track Rat Trap that simply repeated “Paul Weller is a cunt”. Led by singer and lyricist Dan Devine, Flats seem to view contemporary UK music - certainly alternative indie guitar music - with disdain, influenced as they are by UK and US hardcore, Black Sabbath and the speed metal of Anthrax. Their debut album is a relentlessly brutal showcase of their incendiary snarling punk.
Produced and recorded in the band's own Hackney studio and featuring new guitarist Dan Djar, who joined in 2011, Better Living clocks in at a brief 35 minutes, yet there is not an inch of fat on an album that keeps up its intensity from start to finish. Opening track Foxtrot is the longest track here at four and a half minutes and it is a crushingly heavy piece of sludgy metal. Slow and portentous, it pulverises its way to its finish carried by Devine’s coruscating howl. The lyrics are almost impossible to decipher as Devine stretches every sinew of his voice, although some choice lines can be picked up that suggest dark themes: “Are you hanging off a window ledge?” Devine screams at one point....full text
Bbc“Every song we write, we are trying to write a hit,” Flats vocalist Daniel Devine has previously claimed. If this is the case – and Devine does seem to have graduated from that early Manic Street Preachers school of quotability over accuracy – they’re going about it in a funny way. Better Living, Flats’ 34-minute debut album, is a commendably cacophonous outpouring which contains not the slightest germ of future commercial gold, instead cycling unsteadily through subgenres including anarcho-punk, New Orleans sludge metal and 1980s Scandinavian hardcore.
Normally, playing music like this restricts one to a scene committed to parity, low entry fees and avowed rejection of ‘corporate rock’ and the like. Flats, on the other hand, toured with Klaxons, The Horrors and Morrissey within a year of their formation in 2010, and were recently written about in at least one tabloid thanks to Devine being sent to Pentonville Prison for a drug rehab programme. (The hook for the story was Devine’s father Alan McGee’s public amusement at his son’s mishap; the vocalist has not only refuted accusations of industry leg-ups, but suggested the former Creation boss was less than a model dad.) It’s hard to figure who’s going to buy this album – card-carrying hardcore kids will likely deem it inauthentic; gentler indie sorts will merely hear a sloppy racket – but Flats probably relish getting on as many nerves as possible....full text
PennyblackmusicFlats' debut album is the punkest thing to come out of London in years. Taking their musical cues from the likes of Eyehategod, Bongzilla and Weedeater rather than the usual suspects in punk, the band deliver a most unusual record here. The only thing that remains the same from the group's early recordings is Daniel Devine’s snotty vocals. He had warned in previous interviews that they would take this doomy approach but to be honest I never expected this devotion to the down tuned stoner style. It's a brave and brilliant choice. Brave because the likes of 'NME' had already warmed to the band before the musical change. and brilliant because there is no other band out there doing this right now. It’s ridiculously intense listen.
The vocals are something else. Imagine if Steve Ignorant from Crass was even more pissed off and you’ll be maybe half way there. The opening cut 'Foxtrot' and closing bomb drop that is 'Mambo' illustrate this sick anger to its fullest extent. Rather than a horror movie what you have here is a snuff film. This is the real deal. You can’t fake this disgust that runs through Devine’s throat. Both songs are the slowest you’ll find on here and work as a perfect set of bookends....full text
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