|The Flare-Up! - 'Whip 'Em Hard, Whip 'Em Good' (Criminal Records)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Wednesday, 14 October 2009 11:10|
Oh man.....when I saw the spray-painted legend on the back of this album - 'Stockholm Cock Rock Xplosion' - I had a 'Nam flashback. No, make that a 'glam' flashback, back to a fake-junkie filled journalistic endeavour in my near past where every album that got dragged through a hedge backwards on its way to my stereo seemed to be made by a Swedish band who thought that identikit Michael Monroe/Nikki Sixx hair was all it took to make it in the rock 'n' roll world....
Thankfully, one happy glance at the band photo in the booklet of 'Whip 'Em Hard, Whip 'Em Good' put all my fears in the wood chipper. The Flare-Up! look like thoroughly decent fellas! Thoroughly decent fellas who make thoroughly decent music as it happens! The aural candy that smeared my speakers was cool as fuck garage punk rock with both Chelsea booted feet planted firmly in the greatest musical decades that the last century showered upon us.
Full of attitude and gifted with a severe knowledge of the history of incendiary music, The Flare-Up! possess one attribute that millions of other bands would kill their manufactured band mates for; genuine genre-crossing potential. Rock fans, punk fans, indie fans will all go for this album, given the chance. The band have the potential for major crossover success in the vein of The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Hives, Jet even. Not that they sound like any of those bands particularly, it is the genre-hopping success afforded to those aforementioned acts that hangs heavily over the would-be break out success of The Flare-Up!
The songs! Hell, I almost forgot! If I were to list all the good songs, I would have to list the entire album. 'Too Many Zombies' is a tune that belongs in the ears of denizens of the music world almost a half-century ago and features more organ than the underpants of John Holmes. 'Vicious Seeds' contains a hook and guitar break that'll make dead boys cry. The title track is a grandiose, catchy, ambitious affair that is all the more cocky for, not only attempting to be all those things, pulling it off. 'Kid Avenger', 'The Rudes', 'To Kill A Puerto Rican' - I can't recommend this enough.
When albums like this come out of nowhere and really impress, my faith in music is restored like a lightning bolt to the brain. I had no idea that this band even existed until this disc dropped into URHQ like a trashy, retro-fuelled gift from the gods. If you miss bands like Thee Hypnotics, Gunfire Dance even, then you should already be halfway to checking these guys out. If you don't miss bands like them, check The Flare-Up! out anyway......educate yourself.