Flasher's 'Constant Image' Is Driven by the Small Liberties That Make Our Days Better
Flasher play hook-filled rock songs, influenced by everything from post-punk to new wave via shoegaze and indie dream pop on new album, Constant Image.
8 June 2018
The three members of DC band Flasher, guitarist Taylor Mulitz, bassist Daniel Saperstein, and drummer Emma Baker, have jobs. Just like you and me, they clock in every day, they smile at people they know (and some they don't), and then they go home and forget about the preceding 12 hours. Where you, me and Flasher differ is that when they go home they play hook-filled rock songs, influenced by everything from post-punk to new wave via shoegaze and indie dream pop that'll inspire the kind of exhilaration and joy that only comes from a group of people who fully understand what your day was like.
"Go" is a rather deceptive opener to their debut album Constant Image. It filters 2000s dream pop through the prism of 1980s new wave resulting in a disorientating, woozy beginning that leaves the listener ill-prepared for what follows. "Pressure" mines that new wave sound further to dig out a nagging indie pop nugget that sounds like a lost 1980s college radio gem. It shows the band's ability to write vocal hooks out of wonderful non-sequiturs. "Saving face or self-effacing/ Keeping pace in a stasis."
The shimmering "Sun Come and Golden" releases its twitchy energy powered by driving bass and chiming post-punk guitars. The more immediate "Material" features a stunning, wiry, fitful riff that corrals the song to an electric chorus that clings tightly to the senses. The band manage to fit the edgy, constituent parts together but in an abstract fashion, like putting together the broken pieces of a vase to form something entirely new.
Lyrically, "Material" highlights the band's ability to fuse lyrical couplets out of meaningful and more obscure lexical chunks that seem to have found themselves almost by accident. ("Touch the physical/ Clutching typical crush / Fuck the visible livable touching everyone.") The fully charged pop-rocker "Who's Got Time?" comes over like a cross between Superchunk and early R.E.M fronted by Mike Mills. It also shares a certain sense of sardonic flippancy as it addresses that period, when two parties in a doomed relationship, find themselves clinging onto the hull of a sinking relationship with neither person prepared to let go first.
The calming groove of "Skim Milk" opens the door on a more spacious mix of elongated guitar notes, and propulsive bass with all three members of the band swapping vocal harmonies. It's a suitably carefree number as the band urge people to free themselves from the captivity of a future that is already unobtainable. ("No future/No Fate"). Rather than nihilistic it offers the far more optimistic, upbeat suggestion that maybe we should not be making choices with one eye on the future but making them fully focused on the here and now.
Elsewhere on the album the band toy with their sound, adding a bouncy keyboard riff on "Harsh Light" that gives it a little spry mischievousness while "Punching Up" adds layers of distortion and a scuzzy Dinosaur Jr-esque guitar solo. On album closer "Business Usual" the band show they're unafraid to push their sound to somewhere unexpected as they pep up the lead riff with barely contained saxophone notes.
Constant Image is driven by the small liberties we afford ourselves, the ones that make our days better. The things that we'll remember when the shift is finished. The things that are ours, that provoke a reaction, and that stimulate the senses. The band realize that not everyone is obsessing over the answers to life's big questions. More likely, the majority of people have similar feelings about their world to the members of Flasher.