By Riley Ubben
Whenever anyone in the music blogosphere talks about Wild Flag, the band’s riot grrrl credentials almost always seem to be the primary focus. Sure, everyone loves to throw around the “supergroup” tag, but the success of these ladies’ past projects (Sleater-Kinney, Helium, The Minders) certainly isn’t the only reason for their success now. Plenty of supergroups make headlines every year, but rarely do these projects deliver. I mean, have you heard Loutallica?
The reason Wild Flag’s debut is still relevant is because it’s one of the few releases of the year that rocks. And I mean really rocks—the kind of rocking that the indie scene forgot about around the time the laptop became an acceptable substitute for a band. It’s incredibly refreshing, and it’s why even those who never listened to The Woods are paying attention.
While their synth-toting nostalgia junkie peers are busy trying to out-chill one another, Wild Flag aren’t afraid to get riled up. Nobody’s hiding behind any reverb here—Carrie Brownstein and Mary Timony belt out their vocals with a raw, unfiltered energy that matches the combative nature of the lyrics perfectly. Even in the mellow, psychedelic aura of “Glass Tambourine,” the words hit hard with a biting sarcasm that criticizes the frail temperament of today’s trendsetters.
In addition to being able to write a mean chorus, Brownstein and Timony also know their way around a fretboard. There’s a solo around every corner, with “Glass Tambourine,” “Short Version,” and “Black Tiles” showcasing some of their best shredding.
Of course the guitar-centered rock album isn’t a new idea by any means–more than anything, it’s a return to form. But it’s what so many of us were hungry for, and somehow Wild Flag make it feel downright revolutionary.