Release Date: Jul 31, 2012
Record label: One Little Indian
When word filtered out that Flats frontman Dan Devine was the offspring of an exceptionally well-known music industry figure, many chose to write him off without hearing a single note of his band's output. Which is a crying shame because despite their connections with East London and luminaries of the past, Flats don't make the kind of music anyone would associate with fashionable scenesters. While many of their peers choose to go along with whatever fad Dalston has bestowed on them, Flats' musical heritage starts with Steve Ignorant and ends with Digby Pearson.
For all the vomitus aggression filling Flats’ bleak debut, what really disturbs is its harrowing, somewhat tragic air of hopelessness that’s not so much ‘Kick out the jams’ as ‘Cave my head in with that shovel’. Part self-righteous, part self-loathing, the young Londoners take optimum wretchedness from doom rock, no wave and metalcore; the Sabbath-heavy ‘Foxtrot’ is sluggish with a boredom-induced fatigue, and ‘Macabre Unit’ writhes in tortured fretwork. Capped with Dan Devine’s vocals – a scream as angry as it is distraught – this is despair with a backbeat, and punk as it should be: courageously self-destructive.John Calvert .
Debut album from a band that probably relishes getting on as many nerves as possible. Noel Gardner 2012 “Every song we write, we are trying to write a hit,” Flats vocalist Daniel Devine has previously claimed. If this is the case – and Devine does seem to have graduated from that early Manic Street Preachers school of quotability over accuracy – they’re going about it in a funny way.
They’ve certainly generated a lot of interest and divided opinion so far, Flats, London’s punk foursome; either punk gods in waiting or talentless nobodies depending on who you ask. The truly absurd structure that lies at the heart of Flats, if you don’t like it, you don’t get it, clearly.Truth be told I didn’t always see it like this, I was introduced to Flats through the single ‘Never Again’, a ramshackle fuzzy storm with a fairly serviceable riff and Gallows-ish vocals. It wasn’t bad, it could have had potential.