Toronto’s Flatliners have graduated from the new guard to a foundational band over at pop-punk label Fat Wreck on the band’s latest, Dead Language. The album picks up where 2010’s Cavalcade left off, mixing up blistering punk fury with fist-in-the-air rock size. The best moments here find the band either tapping into their endless reserve or propulsive energy—opener “Resuscitation of the Year”, standout “Caskets Full”—or turning into a scrappy take on the E Street sound (see “Birds of England”).
If the latter move feels like a familiar one for a maturing rock band, it’s an outfit that sits comfortably on the Flatliners. Sometimes, that move for trad-rock sounds can bog the disc in mid-tempo sluggishness, as on “Ashes Away” or “Tail Feathers”. But, on the whole, Dead Language is another solid record from one of the great pop-punk bands working today. There are moments of growing pains, but they never overshadow the highlights here, of which there are many.