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Music Review: Flipper – Love

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The band that drummer Steve DePace labeled as “The band you loved to hate” is back. For years, Flipper was known to the 80s underground, hardcore, punk rock scene in San Francisco for their outrageous music that even most punks at the time thought was too weird. While most punks didn’t get it and hated the band for being slow and having long songs, others saw the band as groundbreaking geniuses. They realized that you didn’t have to be like everyone else to be a punk, just break all the rules and never give a shit. Their 1982 Debut album Album – Generic Flipper proves that these boys truly don’t give a shit. Fast forward  27 years later and not a single thing has changed in Flipper’s rule book: break all of the rules.

The story of Flipper’s coming to this album isn’t short of tragedies. Their original bass player Will Shatter passed away in 1987 after a fatal heroin overdose. Shatter’s bass lines were a driving force behind Flipper’s heavy sound. His passing left the band devastated but they continued with John Dougherty replacing Will Shatter after a three year hiatus. After releasing one album with John in 1993 entitled American Grafishy, he died from a heroin overdose as well. John’s death put a strain on the band again for twelve years until Bruno DeSmartass became their new bass player in 2005. When DeSmartass left after only a year in the band, they were lucky enough to find a lifelong Flipper fan Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) to fill in on the leg of a European tour. The lineup of the band on that leg is the one that recorded Love.

The opener “Be Good, Child!” hits you in a different place than their previous works did. It wasn’t as spacey as their first three albums, but it was just as aggressive. The lyrical content is the same as classic Flipper, dealing with rebellion and anger of growing up. Being 18 years old and newly graduated from high school, it is easy for me to personally relate to this 1 minute and 44 seconds of raw aggression.

A great stand out track is “Only One Answer.” The band shows that they are only a modern day version of themselves. Unlike other reformed bands, “Only One Answer” proves that Flipper isn’t an attempted recreation of something they’re not as a gateway to regain fame. “Why Can’t You see?” stands out as it can simply be described as the punk rock version of Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed And Confused.”

Through the whole album rather than trying to knock off any previous bass player for the band, Krist shows that he elicits his unique voice in Flipper. Bruce Loose lets us know throughout the ten tracks that he still has only one interest overall, and that is living and life in general. In “Live Real,” he reminds us to be ourselves not some phony being that can’t think for themself. Overall, the performances by Tedd Falconi and Steve DePace maintain their strides from the past three studio albums.

The album is great. This lineup of Flipper truly sounds genuine. It sounds like what Generic would have sounded like if there were no drugs involved in the recording. Although there are no songs like the classic “Sex Bomb,” there are gems that show their ability to write music that is mind-blowing and original. Since the release, Krist has parted ways with the band and has been replaced by Rachel Theole. Add another name to Flipper’s never-ending bass player list. Will Shatter and John Dougherty would be proud to have released an album of this magnitude. With this album, Flipper proves that their logo is there for a reason. Flipper is back and continues to flatter punk rockers with their innovation.

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