Review by Tom Hersey
Few know Flipper outside of that shirt Kurt Cobain was famously photographed wearing. However, the influence the San Francisco sludge punk act exerted on alternative music is undeniably recognisable. The precursor to bands like latter-day Black Flag and the Melvins, in the ‘70s and ‘80s Flipper helped create the fabric of modern day alt-rock. Their first studio album since 1993’s American Grafishy, Love sees Flipper capture all the irony, anger and urgency of their first two seminal albums. Accompanied by Fight, a disc recorded live by Jack Endino featuring some of the band’s classic material, Love is another Flipper masterpiece. Intentional or otherwise, the album has an endearing undercurrent of dark, ironic humour. The band has been playing for 30-plus years, yet hark the opening line to Be Good, Child! – “Growing up is hard, in this tough, old world“. Lyrically, Love is a refreshing return to the glory days of the Dead Kennedys and The Minutemen. The riffs on Why Can’t You See Me and Old Graves are uncomfortably slow and depressive, ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic’s low end offering a superb accompaniment to Ted Falconi’s guitar. Like the patented sludge sound Flipper fashioned for themselves back in the day, Love is bleak, impersonal and physically draining to listen to. In spite of the aural nuisance Flipper create, or perhaps because of it, Love is a piece of art that will resonate strongly with Flipper fans of old and fans of alt-rock discovering something new that feels genuine.