Flag was a watershed album for the group. On one hand, it is a refinement of all the ideas the band had been following through the '80s, on the other, in the wake of their high-profile success with "Oh Yeah," Yello had reached the point where ideas turned into self-parody -- the cover art of Deiter Meier and Boris Blank pulled together into a human knot is horrifically appropriate. Nothing is a surprise here, apart from how "The Race" is a Xerox of their own 1981 song "Bostich." Tracks like "Of Course I'm Lying" are empty exercises in suave, like late-period Roxy Music without the pedigree. Billy Mackenzie returns to provide backup vocals on the more romantic tunes. This isn't to say that the album is a dull listen -- "Tied Up," repeated here three times on a nine-track album, is a fascinating collage of Afro-Cuban rhythms, rain storm effects, drums nicked from a Broadway revue, monkey chatter, basso-profundo lyrics, and screams. Similar thick, eclectic production dogs each track like cologne on a lounge lizard -- too much of a good thing. Yello saw the decade out with Flag -- they haven't found their way back since.
AllMusic Review by Ted Mills