Flashguns – Passions of a Different Kind (Humming Records)
Since discovering Flashguns earlier in the year while looking into acts that were playing at Boardmasters, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of their debut album. Well the time is upon us folks. Flashguns are 3 young lads from London, who unsurprisingly for a three-piece manage to make an amazing noise. Their album Passions Of A Different Kind which is released 17/10/11 through Humming Records and distributed via Rough Trade was produced by Luke Smith (Foals, Depeche Mode) and Barney Barnicott (Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian) is Somerset and Kent.
What we’re presented with is an incredible well-rounded effort full of visceral full on rock tunes and more down tempo ballads. The great thing about bands with only three members is that things never get too complicated and simplicity is the key here. Rather like Nirvana and the way Kurt Cobain wrote POADK is full of songs that are incredibly easy to pick up a guitar and play along to, but could you write them?? I think not. The sound of the album transfers from full on fuzzed out guitars to stripped back bare melodies to classic guitar fuelled indie rock. It couldn’t be classed as anything groundbreaking but in lead singer Sam Felix Johnston they have a great singer with a unique voice that will surely help distinguish Flashguns from the other bands plying their trade in the same genre.
Opening track ‘Sounds Of The Forrest’ gets straight down to brass tacks with feedback intro giving way to frantic guitars and drums with great riffs at the breakdown. The song sets a great tempo for the album; it’s urgent and sums up how well this band can pen a tune to grab you by the balls.
Title track ‘Passions Of A Different Kind’ is next and what a soaring gut wrenching tune this is. It shows a great versatility in song-craft by the band as it’s in total contrast to the opener. Any indie kid will be drawn right in to the beautiful wailing of the chorus and clever bouncing rhythms. This song is pure bliss.
New single ‘No Point Hanging Around’ is anthemic and demonstrates the band know how to write that sort of song that will be sung to the skies at festivals up and down the land in the near future. A great intro riff that could have been penned by Noel Gallagher it has that simple but really effective quality to it.
In a total about turn ‘The Beginning’ has a haunting quality that’s beautiful and mesmeric; Johnson’s voice seems equally adept at rock and ballad. The song builds nicely and has a great lyric which after many trips to the South West on the train I can totally identify with “on a train to Tiverton Parkway, Strange feeling coming over me” except mine would have been Bodmin Parkway.
‘Candles Out’ is back firmly in the indie rock scene, almost (but not quite thankfully) U2 style of guitar in the intro. The band really know how to pen killer guitar hooks, every song seems to have something unique yet so familiar.
‘Good Breeding’ sees the band and album settling into their stride with what is a solid if unspectacular album track, still has a great chorus which is catchy as hell.
‘Heat & Fire’ has a wonderful acoustic intro which Johnson’s voice floats over until the drums kicks in to fantastic effect, the production on this song is flawless.
An oldie but a goodie ‘Come And See The Lights’ explodes with that familiar riff, this song is one of the standout tracks full of emotion, again the boys show they know their way around a chorus.
‘Noah’ is once again full of interesting little bits, a great breakdown before each chorus, a xylophone in the background and a great crescendo.
Closing track ‘Racing Race’ is again more familiar material but an updated version, and what a way to bow out on your debut album. A Floydesque intro gives way to Johnson’s lamenting wail while everything builds around him. We are treated to riffs layered with effects as the song feels almost like it’s a dog struggling to break its leash. Just as you think it’s going to be totally set free they rein it back in again cleverly and everything slowly fades out. Fin.
Passions Of A Different Kind is a truly exceptional debut, and one of the albums of 2011 in my opinion. The band have laid the foundation for greatness, I just hope they can keep this up. They’ve set the bar high, but they have all the qualities to go as far as they wish.
Best Track: Come And See The Lights
For Fans Of: Nirvana, The Smiths, The Killers
Sam Felix Johnston (Vox/Guitar)
Olly Scanlon (Bass, Vox)
Giles Robinson (Drums)
1. Sounds Of The Forrest
2. Passions Of A Different Kind
3. No Point Hanging Around
4. The Beginning
5. Candles Out
6. Good Breeding
7. Heat & Fire
8. Come And See The Lights
10. Racing Race