Release Date: Sep 17, 2013
Record label: Fat Wreck Chords
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Punk Revival
Every punk group have to grow up sometime, don't they? On Dead Language (the fourth full-length by Ontario punkers the Flatliners), it's apparent that there's been a maturation process place within the quartet's ranks. With a live-off-the-floor production sound from the band and long-time producer Steve Rizun, the 13-song album covers more ground than any of the Flatliners' previous efforts, all the while avoiding the ska/reggae leanings of their early material. Guitarist/vocalist Chris Cresswell is again the centre point for the band — always has been — but on Dead Language, he sticks his neck out into territories they've never broached before.
Tired of their usual approach to making albums, Canadian punk band the Flatliners decided to try something more in-the-moment for their fourth album, Dead Language. Capturing the songs live as a band rather than going through the long process of tracking, overdubbing, then overdubbing again, etc., the energy of the Flatliners' live performances really shines through, imbuing the album with an energy that is often lost in the sterile confines of the studio. While some bands need that kind of safety net, these guys excel without it, making Dead Language an album that's sure to please fans of the band's live set.
The evolution of the Flatlinersâ€“from an exuberant but very green ska-punk outfit to a mature, powerful melodic punk groupâ€“has been fun to watch and hear. 2010's Cavalcade had all the characteristics fans of the genre seek like buzzsaw guitars, melodic leads, anthemic choruses and introspective lyrics. What set it apart from the other 10,000 or so currently active melodic punk bands was the execution: the lyrics were much more than wrought notes about being drunk and sad; the musicianship was much more than leads pulled from No Division or Astray; the songs had an air of appealing rowdiness while also being very calculated and nuanced.
Toronto’s Flatliners have graduated from the new guard to a foundational band over at pop-punk label Fat Wreck on the band’s latest, Dead Language. The album picks up where 2010’s Cavalcade left off, mixing up blistering punk fury with fist-in-the-air rock size. The best moments here find the band either tapping into their endless reserve or propulsive energy—opener “Resuscitation of the Year”, standout “Caskets Full”—or turning into a scrappy take on the E Street sound (see “Birds of England”).