Rarely do you know were to start writing when you first hear a piece of music from an unknown band. This isn’t the case with La Flag. Instantaneously I knew what I needed to say about the Portuguese Post/Math Rock group as I heard the opening track ‘zenith’ from spargelzeit.
First off though, some background info of the band themselves. The 4 members of these heavy driven melodies are Ricardo Farinha, Nuno Carreira, Tiago Bento and Tito Carreno. Based in Lisbon, they are releasing their début album, showcasing their own sonority and ultimately bringing something new to the musical spectrum.
The first single and opening track ‘zenith’ is an instant hit for those of you who are wishing to settle into this alum early on. There are no gimmicks, no build ups, its all laid bare and what a sound these guys have produced. I tend to stay away from comparisons as a rule, but I do think if someone like say ‘Papa Roach’ were looking to re-kindle a way through the melody market, they would learn strong lessons from ‘zenith’.
And moving through the track listing, the songs do not start to ebb or surrender to the norm, in fact a contrast begins to emerge of colourful and technical dynamics. ‘antonov’ and ‘dama de espadas’ show of the light and shade of instrumentation as La Flag begin to derive the complexities of off beats that are not as easy as they sound to reproduce.
It has to be said that this album is not an angry album. It’s empowering, not only just for the incredibly well executed heavier side to Post Rock, but the exploitation of beautiful chord sequences and guitar picking in ‘far’. Here we are moved into the trauma of a delicate song battling with itself and holding it’s own with such emotions. There is also some nice experimentation on-going through the album with the lead guitars, and even though it doesn’t push boundaries as such, it’s always nice to hear bands trying new things and keeping things fresh and interesting.
As you reach ‘mocho’ the band seem to add some more nice touches with some Polyphonic picking and slides (which I believe there is not enough of in music in general right now, so kudos). Beautiful electric pianos through the breaks chaperone the heavy elements back into action. ‘Ophella’ is the final track and starts as a more mellow opening, but progresses to where we started within the opening track, The drummer shows a similar yet wonderful skill, using subtle roll fills and dispersing the powerful cymbals adequately. It has a wonderful build to the song and mighty climax.
There's some big stand out tracks on this album, but it’s the honesty and integrity that the musicians themselves bring to the songs and the feel as a whole that sold it to me.