Flasher: Love is Yours (Domino) | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, July 5th, 2022  

Flasher

Love is Yours

Domino

Jun 21, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


They say that you should avoid politics on a first date. Personally, I’d like to know if my prospective partner is a member of the alt-right before taking things further. Flasher agrees. Throughout its new album, Love is Yours—the first in four years—the luminous duo conflates the political with the spousal. It’s in the album title, which introduces the concept of ownership into the most liberated and nebulous of feelings. Nothing escapes politicization, it seems to suggest. Capitalism’s iron grip on our lives goes deep. And yes, Flasher is from Washington, D.C., but Taylor Multiz has already made it clear that “Growing up in and making music in D.C. doesn’t give us any kind of special insight into those problems. If anything, we want to work to displace D.C. as the site where we locate our political investments.” It’s a central aim, but that reputation shouldn’t precede them.

Flasher made its sophomoric full-length as a duo, albeit with the help of producer and multi-instrumentalist Owen Wuerker. Despite bassist/co-vocalist Daniel Saperstein’s departure during the protracted gap since Constant image, Flasher is still very much a collective. There isn’t a lead singer. Instead, the vocals are democratized and ambiguous, almost every line sung in unison or harmony by Mulitz and Emma Baker, their voices intersecting like twilit pillow talk. “We think it’s more interesting when we (and listeners) have to identify with a multiplicity than just one person,” they told Northern Transmissions. In addition to preserving the unique personal voice established on 2018’s Constant Image, this keeps an undertone of conflict and irresolution percolating throughout, furthering one of the album’s cardinal themes: the transition from a jejune, movie-script-ending outlook on love to one that accepts the real-life complexity and difficulty of a long-term partnership.

“Damage” speaks to this: “I can feel you/I don’t want to be here/Damage is everywhere/Look around the room,” Baker and Multiz trail across one another, surveying the remnants of a relationship that litters a once sacred, impenetrable space. Then again, they could be talking about the January 6th insurrection. Lyrics across the album seem to be simultaneously about a romantic partner and the 45th president’s administration. “Tangerine,” for example, is a fruit that symbolizes wealth and is surely a reference to the man’s fake tan tone. The album even concludes with the line, “Don’t make me say it.” Don’t make me say his name—and don’t make me say that I don’t love you anymore.

There is sonic duplicity too. Delirious dance moments—pulsing harmonium and synthesizer that flirt with atonality—are like half-hearted attempts at carefree escapism that fail to exile the truth, that “living is so hard lately.” Baritone guitars emit clipped mood lines, evoking the more formidable offerings from Death Cab for Cutie and Deerhunter. Harmonic sequences brush against non-diatonic chords but release into home territory before the tension becomes too much (see “All Day Long” and “Dial Up”). In other words, Love is Yours masterfully obscures pop songs beneath pointed post-punk.

I thought the “Still a band :)” Twitter bio was going to haunt me forever. But Flasher is back. Like seeing an old friend who has been gone for a while, there are many new things to discuss and a few to revisit. Overriding this, however, is the unspoken truth that both of you are forever changed. A less self-assured artist might have changed the name, but this is Flasher. Slicing through darkness with surges of light is what the band does. (www.dominomusic.com/artists/flasher)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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