LOVE/FIGHT - Flipper (High Spot/Fuse)
Released in time for their 2009Australian tour and I'll bet the quality of this one knocked a few doubters (me being one of them) on their arse.

Not as chaotic as their early stuff, "Love" harnesses the big, fuzz bass of Krist Novoselic (yes, that Kris Novoselic, now departed) and marries it to the psychotic rants of vocalist Bruce Loose in a way that's compelling. The companion disc, "Fight", mixes new songs with chestnuts like "Ha Ha Ha" and "Way of The World" live.

"Love" swings between short and incisive grinds and long, drawn-out grinds. The all-pervasive, if limited guitar of Ted Falconi washes all over the songs like lava, filling all the crevasses. When it works ("Be Good, Child!", the sing-song "Transparent Blame" and the bulldozing "Love Fight") it's as powerful as a wrecking ball in a crumbling tenement block.

Loose sounds genuinely unhinged and sometimes way too intense for his own good. He occasionally wears out his welcome - on the six-minutes plus "Only One Answer" he disturbingly seems to be channeling Hank Rollins - and interminable closer "Old Graves" just plods. But the evidence shows there's ample life left in Flipper's bones.

Jack Endino's production is nicely unembellished and ther guy mnust be something of a peacemaker of global proportions to have maintained a steady hand over this crew. The studio disc lasts 42 minutes which was probably as long as the band members could stand being in the same room as each other.

"Fight" has enough audience-baiting and unrestrained feedback to get the live ambience across and sounds truer to the shambling band of old. The intensity level seems to plane off on the tracks recorded at a second show but fans of Flipper's sludgy flagellation will probably dig it regardless. - The Barman

 

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