American Grafishy


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American Grafishy Review

by Ned Raggett

Reunited with John Dougherty stepping in for the deceased Shatter, Flipper did its best to recapture the old fire and fury of the band on American Grafishy. While perhaps only half successful, when the album connected it showed that the group still had something fine to offer on its own particular terms. Pre-album single "Flipper Twist," at once a totally ironic idea and one that -- bizarrely enough -- worked incredibly well, chugged along with (for Flipper) a tight and chunky chorus. Hearing the whole band go, "Oh-oh-oh, the Flipper twist is in my soul!" became one of 1993's more unexpected treats. In general, the material sounded worthy of early Flipper, but perhaps, strange to say, was almost too clearly recorded at points (and compared to the rampaging splatter of obvious descendants Cop Shoot Cop, similarly equipped with two basses, almost calm here and there). In particular, Lose's vocals are emphasized over the music rather than the two blending together in a fractured, extreme combination. That said, if Grafishy lacked the sheer visceral impact of Album or Blow'n Chunks, it came close more than once. Lose took over all the vocals this time out, once again offering up tales of urban and personal collapse laced with dry humor, while Falconi's shredding guitar and DePace's steady-as-she-goes drumming still crunched, snarled, and aimed for a downtuning with the best of them. Dougherty isn't apparent much but doesn't sound like he's letting down his side at all. At its best, Grafishy serves up images of creepy desolation worthy of songs like "Life Is Cheap" -- consider "May the Truth Be Known," where Lose's electronically slurred spoken word breaks practically drip venom. "Fucked Up Once Again" serves as both a motto for the band and a good title for a solid song, while other winners include the slow burn "Distant Illusion" and "It Pays to Know."

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