123Go! Review: The Flatliners - Inviting Light
08-Aug-21 | Categories: music, review | Tags: riserecords, dinealonerecords, theflatliners, yourprivateradio
Inviting Light has quickly become my favorite records from The Flatliners. Coming from a Cavalcade (2010) and Dead Language (2013) mindset, I get the sense that Inviting Light takes things in a "more mature" direction and invites us to give it a shot.
What the fuck does "more mature" mean anyway? We usually say it to mean that the band deviates from their normal style in order for them to be more listenable by a wider audience. It could also mean that we're just getting older and don't always want to hear the fist pumping, 6-string strumming with fast, single-double kick drum patterns. Either way if it's too loud, then you're too old. Fortunately, The Flatliners don't go quiet (nor soft) on us.
Chris Cresswell has proven that he can sing. He's able to come in and out of deep throat yelling to a refined timbre with slight vibrato, without studio tricks (watch the Audiotree set below). It's showcased really well in "Nicotine Lips". Listening to the lyrics from the explosion "Hey!" growl to the soothing "Coming close..." back to the punk yell "You choke!". You get a sense Chris is able to command his voice in way that makes an impact. I relate it to a similar growl technique heard on a saxophone (probably tenor in Chris' case) coupled with correct use of dynamics (Meaning, piano and forte. But with punk, it needs to maintain the forte levels - so the growl-to-smooth emulates that transition you get going from piano to forte (and back), but keeping everything at forte levels.) You can hear another example in the song "Hang My Head". Listen to the line coming out of the explosive "Yeah!" into "I usually sing along..." The "-ong" pulls it back with trailing subtle vibrato and gives you proof of how he's tonally aware and counters the argument that punks can't sing. It's pretty cool.
I'm not discounting the band. They're tight as fuck and capitalize on it to deliver. If you watch a bunch of videos and live shows from them, it looks like they went with Fender guitars and Orange amps. Scott has it so nailed that it's almost as if Chris was playing both parts. It's like he's inside Chris' head entirely, or vica versa, and playing as one. Chris pulls in a lot of his solo acoustic experience into the record, for sure (listen to "Chameleon Skin"). So, the guitar chord structures are well rounded with open chords to build it out between inversions and bar chord foundations coming from Scott. Paul (drums) gets it too and slows it down, in the classy way, to fit the feel of the songs. I'm a huge fan of how he's always got his cymbals raised high on the kit. And Jon (bass) holds it down in coolest way possible. Watch him just chilling out on the 5-string with finger pick style.
I'll leave the rest to you to take it all in.