Bristol is no stranger to the arts, providing the world with the likes of Banksy, Lee Evans, Massive Attack, Tears For Fears and… The Wurzels. The Scrumpy n’ Western quartet aside, Brizzle’s track record is generally one to be proud of, and a hard reputation to live up to for newcomers Flights.
Their debut album ‘History Be Kind‘ is out on the 6th of October, and is the band’s follow-up to their EP in 2011. A mass of influences, it’s hard to pin the band down to one specific genre. The album opener ‘Storms’ starts with some light and sombre piano chords, bringing in harmonised vocals before a falsetto transition to the base sound of the album. While the guitars on the album are definitely distorted, they’re not ear-crunchingly overpowering. Bass roots follow the guitar tracks very closely and lay on a bed of intricate rock drumming, and while the former is nothing to rave about, the drums establish a very effective backdrop for the melodic instruments found in the record. Switching between nuanced hi-hat rolls to simple yet driving rock beats, the percussive side of Flights has impressed me.
The songwriting itself is rather simplistic in its melodic crafting, shaping the notes sang to lyrics very typical of post-rock and pop-punk. The vocal delivery of the album switches between a quieter, softer delivery which I enjoyed quite a bit more than when the influences of pop-punk reared their ugly head. I was very surprised to hear a stateside accent coming from a band purportedly hailing from Bristol, this probably irking me a little more than it should have. While the ethereal, harmonised vocals on the record fit quite well with the softer songs and provide the listener with something not often head before, the creepings of the faux-Californian twang that’s become fashionable in bands recently mar the experience.
Production wise, the record is irrefutably slick. I don’t think I would have minded hearing a little flair or risk in the studio on the record as Flights seem to be a band wanting to make something new with their own twist, not create the most radio-friendly album as possible. Each song on the album sounds different but indescribably similar – by this I mean that there’s not much of a sonic difference between the heavy hitters and gentler numbers. While it’s not enough of a problem to defeat the interest of the listener, it’s enough to stop the album from being the great record it could be.
In all honesty, it’s hard to not enjoy ‘History Be Kind‘, but there are still a few kinks to be worked out of the band’s sound for me personally before I’m invested in the record. Whether the drawbacks that I’ve mentioned have a detrimental effect on the enjoyment of the listener or not is up to the individual, but unfortunately the album isn’t for me.