On their latest release entitled, Rose, Ottawa, ON band Flaws embraces a cathartic blend of garage rock and punk that manages to still feel like a lot of fun, even amongst all the typical angst and anger of the genre.
Made up of former members of Ottawa bands, The Tenenbaums and Muelkik, Flaws sounds almost like an exact matching of these groups’ strengths, mixing the classic punk edge and ferocity of Muelkik with the earnestness and melodicism of The Tenenbaums. The end result, in the best way, sounds perfectly crafted to be played in the dingy basements of punk houses as teenagers hurl themselves into each other with abandon. Think PUP, but heavier and with a wilder and rawer style.
The overall project’s only real weakness is the lack of variation between the songs with few individual moments or melodies or lyrics managing to worm themselves into your brain and making you want to come back to the record. Instead, Flaws seem interested in assuming an all-out punk assault on the ears, with the production (courtesy of Stefan Jurewicz) sounding crafted to feel like you’re listening to a live recording. Ultimately this approach acts as a proverbial double-edged sword, making the act of listening to the record to be an exhilarating rush of punk energy, but causing the music to slip from your mind soon after you’ve walked away from your laptop.
Of course, there are exceptions, like the final track “Wake.” A swirl of angular guitar leads and furious drumming that recalls Drive Like Jehu’s seminal Yank Crime, it’s the clear highlight of Rose. So, while it may not be as memorable as it could be, Rose is nonetheless still a solidly crafted exercise in a musical catharsis that grabs your attention from the opening of its first track.
Written by Alex Ramsay
*edited by Danielle Kenedy