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How does one gauge the growth a band undergoes between releases? Is it a matter of observing the overall quality of their work or breaking it down and looking at the smaller differences and changes that have occurred and how they factor into each song; a band's ability to stand on its' own, work beyond the conventions set forth by their genre and do so confidently? On The Flatliners' new album, listeners can check each of those different variables off in succession and still come up with more reasons why singer Chris Cresswell, guitarist Scott Brigham, bassist Jon Darbey and drummer Paul Ramirez have come into their own as one of the best new punk bands on the circuit; Cavalcade single-handedly puts all of that into perspective.
After the opening “horsemen of the rock apocalypse” sample that leads off “The Calming Collection,” The Flatliners just burn through a set of the twelve best songs they've written so far, and take no prisoners as they bombard listeners with sheets of the finest, tightest and most caustic melodic hardcore that the genre could ever hope to produce. Throughout songs including “Carry The Banner,” “Bleed,” “Filthy Habits” and “Liver Alone,” Cresswell drops a set of vocal/lyrical bombs on listeners that mix catharsis with an arresting and caustic tone, history lessons that have seemed to become prescient again, and more anthemic calls to arms than should be legal. The band follows suit with him, laying down incendiary chops that are guaranteed to set pits to boiling live and listeners to throw their fists in the air involuntarily.
Sounds like a good time right? It's not over yet.
What really sets Cavalcade apart from its peers is the fact that, in addition to knocking some of their strongest songs out of the park and realizing the potential they've been working toward for the last eight years, the band has also begun to diversify this time out. The melodic hardcore numbers are great, but of equal interest are those tracks that break the proverbial mould like “He Was A Jazzman” (which tries out some pretty strong ska and reggae colors), “Monumental” and “Count Your Bruises” (which both sound eerily like something The Gaslight Anthem would be riding high on) which open both the band and their audience's minds up to a whole different set of possibilities for The Flatliners to explore further in the future. They also add just the right amount of diversity to Cavalcade to ensure that listeners can't wait to see what the band does next.
With all those chops in place added to the fact that The Flatliners have clearly grown both in confidence and conviction on Cavalcade, there will be no doubt in anyone listening that the album proves The Flatliners are destined for great things. All the pieces just lock into place here and it's easy to get excited as you find yourself repeatedly reaching for the repeat button; like Dookie was for Green Day, Punk In Drublic was for NoFX and Siren Song Of The Counter Culture was for Rise Against, so may Cavalcade be the first keystone release for The Flatliners.
The Flatliners – “Carry The Banner” – Cavalcade
The making of Cavalcade video.
Ground Control's interview with Flatliners' singer, Chris Cresswell.
Cavalcade comes out in the States on Fat Wreck Chords and in Canada on Drive/Fontana North on April 13, 2010. Pre-order it here on Amazon , or directly from Fat Wreck Chords here .