The Lodger have never been the flashiest of bands. Much like the Wedding Present, they don’t make it on good looks, glamour, or media buzz. Instead, what makes them work is the earnest determination they apply to the music, the heads-down drive of the band, and the tightness of the overall sound. Their previous album, Life Is Sweet, was filled with songs that resonated deeply, using the basic guitars-drums-keys approach to create a sound that recalled the best moments of the Weddoes and the Jam (another heads-down band). On their third album, Flashbacks, the Lodger decided to expand their approach somewhat by bringing in horns, strings, and backing vocals to embellish the songs. This decision could have turned out to be a disaster, with grafted-on parts sinking the songs in pretension and sucking out the all-important energy that keeps them jumping. Fortunately for fans of the group, this isn’t the case. It may be true that the album has a lighter feel, with the guitars often taking a secondary role, but there is no letdown in the energy department and producer Richard Formby (an old hand at making great-sounding records) works with the band to integrate the wide range of instruments and sounds smoothly into the mix. It helps that the songs Ben Siddall wrote for the album also lend themselves to being arranged in a more subdued and autumnal manner. There’s a strong current of melancholy running through the words and plenty of minor chords to attach them to. His growth as a songwriter is not a real surprise, but it’s still nice to see and better yet to listen to. The record is filled with songs that will tug at hearts and bring back misty memories, not in a bad way but more in a pleasantly melancholy way. Balancing the weepers are a handful of uptempo tracks that remind you just how well the band can crash through a rocker. Maybe it’s lacking the one amazing song that can really sell an album, like Life Is Sweet's “The Good Old Days” (though the bounding “Have a Little Faith in People” comes close) but when you add up the songs, the result is another satisfying album from a band that took some chances and, through skillful arranging and producing, saw them pay off handsomely.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra