Monday, 4 June 2018

Album Review: Always The Bridesmaid by Flangipanis

It's been a few weeks since we have featured a great Australian band on CPRW. Well now I have discovered another! Brisbane based four piece Flangipanis. The band, which features Jodie on guitar and vocals, Josh on guitar and backing vocals, Pauly on bass and backing vocals and Johnny on drums, have been going since 2008. During that time they have toured hard between releasing two EPs and three albums. The most recent album, titled Always The Bridesmaid, was released back in March to some great acclaim. Describing themselves as a punk rock party band, they are a foursome I'm really keen to check out.

Always The Bridesmaid begins with the song High, Drunk, Loose. The song starts out with a thick bass line before some great and punchy vocals come into play. The song is a simple sing-a-long that starts the album off superbly. You really get a sense of everything Flangipanis are all about – the song is about having a great time at a show or party and is delivered in a fun and up-tempo way. This is followed up by the album's lead single, Fuck You And Your Stupid Party. The song has a bitterness about it that works perfectly with the song's topic – not being invited to someone's party. Lyrically it's pretty graphic, probably not a song to play in front of your parents, but I'm a gigantic child so I did smirk at the content. The third song, Make This City Safe Again, is a track that has more of a serious nature to it. It's about how the authorities say they're trying to make a change for the better but in truth are abusing their power. After a song talking about masturbation and cheese this is quite the switch up but Flangipanis pull it off brilliantly. There is an excellent urgency in the song and despite the more serious topic it retains the catchy charm that seems to be the band at their best.

Something I noticed whilst reading the track listing before listening to Always The Bridesmaid was that the album features two different versions of the song Phone Keys Smokes Wallet. The first version to make an appearance is the doom version of the song and it's just a heavy slab of fun. Shitty Amps is one of my favourite songs on the album. It's about life in a DIY punk band and it expresses that you don't need all of the super expensive equipment, you just need to turn up and play and have a great time. I really love this ethos. Flangipanis do a fantastic job of getting their positive message across whilst retaining plenty of humour in the lyrics. The punchy way in which Jodie delivers the vocals really drew me into the song and gives it so much energy. WoW brings us to the halfway point of the album. On this track either Josh or Pauly take on lead vocal duties, I'm not sure which but I know it's not Jodie. I'm really reminded of Face To Face on the track – it's high tempo and packed full of melody. It's everything I want in pop punk. As you may have guessed, the song is about the popular online game World Of Warcraft and wanting to live inside of that world to escape from ours.

One More Drink sees Jodie return to lead vocals. This melodic pop punk song is about drinking to enjoy yourself and it not making you a bad person. It feels like a lot of emotion has been put into the song and Jodie at times comes across as vulnerable and like she feels like she has to justify her actions. Something she obviously doesn't need to do. This is followed up by an instrumental intermission. It's two and a half minutes of crunchy pop punk and gives the listener a bit of a break without ever slowing things down. I assume that if you have the LP version of Always The Bride that this is the first song of side B, otherwise it is kind of odd placing. Following the intermission is the ninth song, Orchy Bong. On my first listen of the song I thought it was about the break-up of a relationship but in fact it's about losing your favourite bong and pining for it. Although I'm not an advocator of taking drugs, it's a fun song that doesn't take itself too seriously.

Up next is the reggae version of Phone Keys Smokes Wallet. This is a funny little gimmick that Flangipanis have used here but it put a huge smile on my face so I'm on board with it. If I had to choose a favourite between both versions of the song, I have to say that this reggae version takes it. I'm a sucker for some fun reggae music. The penultimate song is titled Poon Lagoon. This song is absolutely filthy! Featuring vocals and keys from fellow Brisbane band The Gutter Birds,  the song is about making love. If you like a rude comedy song then this is a song for you. The final song is the fantastic I Won't Spill My Drink. This is a superb melodic pop punk track. What I really enjoyed about the song was the way that Jodie delivers the vocals. The melody is superb. There's plenty of attitude in her vocals but also some real restraint in each line. It shows that you don't need to explode to make your point. An excellent ending to a superb album.

Stream and download Always The Bridesmaid here:

Like Flangipanis here:

This review was written by Colin Clark.

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