Reviewed by Mike Wood
It really isn’t until the fourth track on “Love,” Flipper’s first set of original material since 1993, that you can exhale and believe. “Live Real” kicks in with the somber, hypnotic bass line, the scraping guitar, and the sarcastic ranting of Bruce Loose, announcing that Flipper has lost none of its rage nor humor.
It is dicey at first. The first three tracks, while decent, seem awkward. They are a mix of metal, Nirvana and old sentiments that ring a bit hollow. The titles alone-“Be Good, Child,” “Learn To Live” and “Only One Answer” sum up the lyrics and the stilted feel. What then gloriously ensues, however, are seven blistering, indelible songs that could only be the work of Flipper. Even without the late, great Will Shatter, Flipper immediately catches up with the times and their own legacy.
The most Flipper-esque tunes, “Why Can’t You See” and “Old Graves,” put the band’s newest member to work. Bassist Krist Novacelic has big sonic shoes to fill, but fill them he does, providing the murky, sludgy beat to all the songs, but especially giving these two tracks a classic feel. He teams nicely with the guitar of Ted Falconi, who remains ever adept at sawing through a melody. “Transparent Blame” and “Love Fight” are also immense, with Loose’s vocals as confrontational and insightful as ever.
Flipper were among the few bands that made your hair stand on end just by warming up. “Love” is not only a reminder of that (as is the killer live companion release, also on MVD, “Fight”) but stands on its own as in real time as a release by a band still vital, still fearless.