I’ve had a tortuous relationship with the band My Flag is on Fire, for quite a while. Actually, since the release, and subsequent abandonment of the sound on their eponymous EP. I respect the band immensely, enjoy their music when I hear it, I like songs off all their albums, but they haven’t released a collection of songs that I wanted to listen to from beginning to end without skipping since the EP.
Phew, it feels good to get that off my chest. I’m here to tell you something. They’ve done it again. They’ve made an album I want to listen to the whole way through, that is. That album is their new one, Post Pop.
Let’s start off with the most dramatic change in direction for this band in years. Songs is a sweet number that, at just under 5 minutes in length, is a pretty short MFioF song. (Hey, that’s just how it is.) Synth pads play a prominent role; this song feels decidedly electric and dare I say, organized in advance. With some horns that key to White Bicycle, this song seems to be tying all kinds of dimensions of this band’s sound into one song.
Then there are the songs the band recorded years ago. Doom Decibels & Destruction seems to be telling us, “this is a way that these songs can sound.” And Harmony seems to be saying, “… and here’s a less electric take on an old classic.” I Quit is reimagined as a country ballad. (It fares well.)
There’s new material working here, too. In Un-titles, we are requested to please “don’t fuck with my heart.” Absolved is pretty and short.
Urban Farms is a number that mixes prog and folk influences. With this 9-minute track, you’re listening to My Flag is on Fire at their best. It’s a completely new sonic dimension for them, but it uses things that you know they’re good at using. It unites the accordion and electric guitar and synthesizer instincts of this diverse group of musicians better than any previous effort.
This album has some other interesting things. For example, on Natural Love, it sounds like the band is mixing Weezer influences (Island in the Sun) with The Cure (Just Like Heaven.) They get away with it.
Rounding out the mix, New Classic gives us a moment’s pause to bask in melody and soul… albeit from a melancholy point of view. It’s a big song, and it really showcases the diversity of compositions that this group of musicians is capable of arranging and performing.
If this album has a theme, it’s that the old is new, and so is the new. Effortlessly mixing musical styles from the band’s influences as well as the band’s past, this is quite an album. Highly recommended.