The Flaws – Springtime For The Flaws album – Review
Late 2007 saw a new musical explosion onto the Irish music scene in the form of The Flaws, their initial release, Achieving Vagueness, was anything but receiving far-reaching acclaim amongst critics and music lovers alike. Entering the Irish Top 20 chart almost immediately, it’s unsurprising that the band received Choice and Meteor award nominations. Of course these award nods only fuelled the boys’ reputation further, being fortunate enough to play sets at some of the most renowned music festivals in Europe, including Glastonbury, Electric Picnic, and Oxegen. After taking a much deserved break, the boys returned the studio and produced their second album, Constant Adventure, in the late months of 2010. Again, this album received widespread praise for its unique, further ear, marking the boys as fantastic musical talents. Sadly, with the departure of their original bass player, Dane McMahon, in the early stages of 2012, the band were forced into a transitional phase. This phase seemed to come to an end when Paul Mallon took on the mantle of bass player, and The Flaws performed memorable shows in Whelan’s and the Academy in support of their single ‘Let’s Fight’. However, the group found themselves at a loose end and decided to take another break. But like musical caterpillars, a transitional period is essential and they remerged in 2013, what was initially seen as an exchange of ideas soon evolved into a new album, in the form of Springtime For The Flaws.
This third album proved to be a culmination of the musical drive that they had presented in Achieving Vagueness and the melodic honing that they had channelled in Constant Adventure, it became rather apparent that they had found a sense of balance in their music, a musical equilibrium that produced their best work to date. Taking it upon themselves to record the album free from any external influence of distraction, they found a whole wealth of opportunity to express their creativity. The results speak for themselves. Springtime For The Flaws is a prime example of the band at their most potent. Under their typical traits of pulsating beats and unrelenting rhythm, there was a new prevalence in their songwriting, a devoted effort to the craft of lyric creation. With Colin Berrill’s relentless drum attack, Paul Mallon’s pulsing bass, the soaring harmonies, and the sumptuous melodic interplay between Paul Finn and Shane Malone, the band’s drive is evident. Mixing duties were handled by Marc Carolan.
The second single ‘That’s What You Get’ is the unusual combination of the band’s trademark gloom-pop and somehow upbeat rhythms. The lyrics are self-deprecating in a manner that only an Irish band could be, it’s inherent in us. But wow, that voice – it’s so measured, and polished. To think the band recording this themselves only adds to their impressiveness, they clearly understand what works for them. The chorus, there’s just this infectious catchiness to it that you simply can’t shake, how they shape a song is something to be truly admired. ‘Animals’ is another track that really caught my attention, the difference between this track and ‘That’s What You Get’ is rather impressive. There’s a subtlety to this track, the vocals maintain a rather strikingly sombre timbre to them, the way the band’s sound can evolve from track to track just amplifies their new-found drive and desire to create an album that perfectly represents what they’ve been through and experienced. Similarly, with tracks like ‘Shake Your Bones’ and ‘Tryouts’, their trademark gloom-pop is far more prevalent, these tracks hark back to more classic indie-rock, the gently hum of guitar combined with the sporadic build of vocals is just striking. I feel like every track on this album is musical gold, the band are clearly back with a bang. ‘Disappoint and Go’ has a far more heavy feel to it, like a delicious combination between the sounds of Biffy Clyro and The Enemy, there’s a palpable moodiness to this song, with the guitar and drums far more intense, it all just works to show the power of hiatus for bands.
There wasn’t a single track on this album that I didn’t like, which is a rare feature to say the least. The wealth of potentially magnificent home-grown talents is epitomised in what The Flaws have produced in this album. They’ve taken their experiences and past on board and managed to create an album that becomes as instant classic from start to finish. I cannot wait to see them live.
Review by Elaine McDonald