For anyone who loved the phase of female-dominant rock that sort of took over the 90s, Wild Flag should seem an ideal supergroup of sorts, bringing together former members of Sleater Kinney, Helium and the Minders. This full-length debut would be an experiment, were it not for Carrie Brownstein's previous ties to Mary Timony (with whom she founded one-off the Spells over a decade ago), and Janet Weiss (her fellow bandmate in Sleater Kinney until their 2006 split), or Rebecca Cole's collaboration with Weiss in kitschy garage group the Shadow Mortons (for which they've paraded around as Dixie and Luvvy).
The record overall displays the energy of a latter-day Sleater Kinney live show, showing a strong energy and few to none of the political or solemn tones that were woven through later albums One Beat and The Woods. And for those who couldn't hop on the Sleater Kinney bandwagon because of Corin Tucker's proud and intent bellowing, Wild Flag should be a dream. Not only does Wild Flag resemble the fun side of Sleater Kinney, but they sound exactly like what is to be expected of four mom-aged women who're past the point of needing to deliver a political message—a task typically reserved for 20-somethings on their first or second album. They really do sound like they're having a party, and you're invited, but only so long as the hostesses appear to be having a better time than you. It is their party, after all.
The odd thing about Wild Flag is that, despite having two vocalists who've never been particularly fantastic in the role—Brownstein's ultra girly quiver is always a bit off, and Timony struggles to rise above the apathetic, monotone muttering she adopted some years ago—this band will be immensely loved for the great musicians they are and the bands they've been in. They have great chemistry as a group, but the record itself says nothing important and is no more remarkable than any of the records previously released by their separate, prior projects. [Merge]
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