Vinyl Vlog 464

Vinyl Vlog 464

Thursday, 26 November 2020
”Thought Is Free” by The Subhumans, from the For Family and Flag compilation LP.

A deeper look at the grooves pressed into the For Family and Flag Volume 1 compilation album. After the 3LP, red-covered release entitled One Country, One Flag was released two years ago, the idea that punk rock compilations were still a viable format (by then Punk-O-Rama had been retired by Epitaph and so had most of the other compilations that used to get given away for free at Warped Tour – only Fat Music For Fat People was still sort of in print, but releases of that title have become less frequent too) was completely renewed. It was actually pretty gratifying to see; fans responded immediately to the 3LP set and Pirates Press was able to see the level of interest (and sales) in a very measurable way. Presumably, it was because of the reception and sales that Pirates Press has elected to release the first edition of the similarly titled series For Family and FlagVolume 1 and, while the set is not exactly the same in construct (its 3LP predecessor saw Pirates Press throw content from everything – LPs, EPs and reissues – into the mix, while this new release limits itself to featuring songs which appeared on new Pirates Press albums which came out in 2020), the presentation and listening experience is about as gratifying.

With fantastic cuts by such great bands as Seized Up (“Taking Back The Neighborhood,” from Brace Yourself, is included on this comp), Subhumans (“Thought Is Free” – which saw release on the Crisis Point LP and as a standalone flexi-disc – sees further service on For Family and Flag Volume 1), Lenny Lashley’s Gang Of One (“Need” is here), The Slackers (who put out the “Nobody’s Listening” single on Pirates Press this year, and the song appears here again, now) all featured prominently in this album’s runtime, Volume 1‘s quality is not in question at all – and the sequencing of the songs keeps energy, interest and excitement up as well. In this context, no single song stumbles or falls through the proverbial cracks along the way, which speaks volumes to the album as a whole.

With that said however, I do need to confess that I have never been a big fan of compilation albums. I mean sure – I’ve heard a couple which weren’t bad, but I prefer full-length albums by one artist at a time – so that artist can build an experience. I usually find the idea of cherry-picking individual songs and putting them together with no contextual reference abhorrent. I think my distaste to comps in general speaks volumes about the quality of this comp though; track-by track, the set actually holds together well. No band really jumps out out from the rest, and the sound remains reasonably consistent throughout the runtime. The songs included on For Family and Flag Volume 1 are great, and they’re all great – which makes this play okay. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not huge on compilation albums, but I appreciate what For Family and Flag Volume 1 presents to listeners. [Bill Adams]


For Family and Flag Volume 1 is out now. Buy it here, directly from Pirates Press.

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