Flasher

Constant Image

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Washington, D.C. post-punk trio Flasher are part of the Sister Polygon family, which has been integral to a scene based around the new wave of groups like Downtown Boys, Gauche, and Priests (who also run the label). That they feature former Priests bassist turned guitarist/singer Taylor Mulitz, who makes up one-third of the group with Emma Baker on drums and Daniel Saperstein on bass, suggests they'll seamlessly slide into D.C.'s punk revival.

"Go," the opening track of their debut album, Constant Image, reveals that, like Mulitz's former band, they lean toward the danceable end of punk, but it also hints that Flasher are pursuing a unique angle. That inkling is further validated by the Talking Heads-esque bounce of "Pressure," which indicates the new wave slant of the album. Even on slower-paced tracks like "Sun Come and Golden," the rhythm section retains that funky, staccato flow, with Saperstein's basslines boldly front and center and Baker's percussion always sidestepping the obvious. Their debut is stacked with hooks and radio-friendly tunes, but their melodic sense is matched by an abstract yet incisive lyricism. "Material" lightly touches on some blithely doled-out existentialism ("Man is material, hysterical"), and "Harsh Light" lives up to its name with the claim "Stuck to the bottom/That's how they want you."

Overall, Flasher have crafted a strong musical identity over the record's ten tracks, with their tight, lean sound bolstered by splashes of synths and the vocals divvied up democratically throughout. The legendary Dischord has ruled D.C.'s musical legacy for decades, but now a new generation carries punk in its many forms and guises into the future free of the genre's sometimes constrictive attitude. Constant Image begins and ends, rather fittingly, in a flash, but leaves a lasting impression in large part due to their unfaltering self-possession. Flasher appear to have arrived fully formed, with a deeply satisfying debut that's both coherent and imaginative.

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