The Jailer's Daughter has a long history as a band with several of the four members knowing one another since birth. False Flag combines their gritty performance personas with a more refined sound as it mixes raw, live recordings with multi-layer studio works. This mix added some depth to the album but it also created a lack of flow from song to song.
The opening track “Everything You Like is Stupid” was probably my least favorite track on the album. Quite simply the sound was too forced and sounded like they were trying too hard to sound like they were not trying at all. It was a forced sound and very much the expected punk sound with lyrics that were hard to follow and a mash up of a less than stellar high school garage band. Lucky for the listeners, this was the only song that fell this flat on the album. It did in fact get much better.
There is a very distinct breakdown as far as the style of the album; some songs were raw and felt like a classic live performance in a dark club while others oddly felt more like they were mastered to the point of being too poppy for the band. It seemed like they needed to choose one of the approaches and run with it instead of trying to intermix the two.
I enjoyed the almost live aspect of songs like “Bath Salts” and “Slouch.” This was something I would expect from the classic Seattle music scene with just a hint of the unexpected surf influence to throw the listener off. This would play great at a beach front spot in a grungy bar somewhere, if they does in fact exist.
The studio quality songs on the album beyond “Everything You Like is Stupid” were interesting but didn't seem like they were even a part of the rest of the album. I enjoyed “Partywave” as an updated punk meets surf anthem while “#yesallmen” just fell a bit too pop culture for me.
Using both the almost live recordings mixed at random with the mastered tracks left the album feeling disjointed and not ready for commercial release. It almost seems like there were two different projects here with neither getting finished so they just stuck them together. I would like to see more of the live performance tracks explored as this seemed to be where they thrived.
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