New Music | Friday Roll Out: The Flatliners, Art Moore

We’re often presented with a “members of” or “collaborator with” when offered up something new. But often times this doesn’t sway an opinion one way or another, it’s just a fancy way of saying, “hey, maybe you should listen to this.” That’s what really happens. This time around, we have Taylor Vick, Sam Duerkes and Trevor Brooks, attached to Boy Scouts and Ezra Furman in some way or another whose new project, Art Moore, attempts to alter the musical landscape in one form or another. It just may do that with the self-titled debut effort (ANTI-).

At first glance, or rather, first listen, Art Moore seems harmless enough before you find yourself humming and swaying along to the atmospheric propulsion of its songs. As soon as “Muscle Memory” opens, you’re hit with blissful keyboard waves that caress sonically reserved percussion as Taylor Vick’s voice enters the fray. The music is controlled, filled with power without going over the top, allowing an organic and natural flow. But it’s “Sixish” that moves sweetly with alluring harmonies and gentle deliver. You’ll find yourself enthralled, hook, line and sinker. But it’s “A Different Life” that’s all too captivating. With a lengthy and drawn out intro, the low register of the bassline and keyboard blend together seamlessly, drawing on a subtle but tender melody. Oh yes, this(!) is it.

Throughout the album there’s so much to pick and choose from, whether it’s the soft & hallowed “Something Holy” or soft touch of “Rewind,” as it crescendos sonically creating a wall of instrumentation that’s unrelenting. It’s exquisite, just like the rest of this release. Art Moore isn’t going to change the world but the band’s music will at least allow you to live comfortably within the complicated confines of it, leaving you in a dream state as it all burns down.

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It’s hard to believe that some groups living off the fringes have surpassed the test of time, moving into double decade digits, never compromising what it is or what it stands for. Such is the case for Toronto punk mainstays The Flatliners, who return today with its 6th album, New Ruin (Fat Wreck Chords), and its first in 5 years. Throughout the years, the group’s sound has evolved as it continued to blend its heavy-handed delivery with more melodic nuances.

There are seemingly two sides to The Flatliners: There’s the more aggressive nature the band delivers, mixing in stormy melodies, and the other much friendlier and catchy side of the group. It makes no difference considering throughout every track, the band never loses its identity, making it distinguisable as The Flatliners. Sometimes the band will blend both together in one song. The opening powerhouse of “Performative Hours” leads off with a smattering of guitars, gruff vocals, and a contorted/controlled rhythm. The band’s aggression is as strong as its ability to fill it with a healthy dose of melody but never slowing down. Although when “Big Strum” initially hits with it’s rhythm as guitar notes play along as Chris Cresswell waxes poetic, the tension surrounding the song, wrapped in harmonies, offers something refreshing as it builds and releases it with abandon. This boys and girls, is how it’s done.

The band will leave you questioning if you’re ready for what’s to come. The shifting dynamics of “Souvenir,” plays it pretty straight and this just may be the moment you find yourself bouncing along to the band’s infectious rhythm. Every note, every vocal line just seems to hit perfectly throughout the song, leaving nothing unravelled, allowing the track to take on a life all its own. Or is it “Tunnel Vision” that I’m thinking of? No, that’s a different song with a rhythm that’s haunting and solid guitar chords that are front and center. It’s exhausting but well worth it.

Serious music listeners are a finicky bunch but we can be sure of one thing, and that’s that The Flatliner’s New Ruin will probably be your favorite new record. It has everything and anything you could imagine and want. It’s power, it’s beauty, it’s unrelenting.

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