Punk and rock n' roll reviews from Lord Rutledge and friends
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Flashlights - Shadows and Lights
Secret Mission Records has been bringing music from some of the best bands in Japan to American shores for a number of years now. That very much continues with the vinyl release of Flashlights' acclaimed full-length Shadows and Lights. This Tokyo foursome plays indie pop with a tremendous Japanese punk pedigree (members of Rock-A-Cherry and The Knocks are involved). Originally released on CD in 2016, this album has been remastered for vinyl by the one-and-only Jeff Burke. Who do Flashlights sound like? Well they don't really sound like any other band, and that is part of what makes them great. They can go from jangling, twee-ish pop to moody indie/punk - sometimes within a single song! Listening to the bittersweet punky pop of "Midnight Carboy", you could understand why Jeff Burke would "get" this band. Yet for the most part, this album follows a path that is impossible to pigeonhole. It's not quite power pop, but I think power pop fans would dig it. It's not quite punk rock, but the punk influence is quite palpable (especially on a song like "Neo City"). It sounds completely original, yet it still satisfies in a way that only a really good pop record can. The sequence from the haunting "Stormy Night" to the easy, breezy "Time" to the Velvet Underground influenced "Shadows" is the perfect encapsulation of this album's appeal. This really is one of those releases that stands out from the pack - not just because it's different, but also because it's so well-done. The songwriting is brilliant, the guitar work is exceptional, and the vocals are overflowing with charm. Flashlights are one of the most celebrated underground bands in Japan today, and now you have the chance to find out why. If you like what you hear, you'll want to pounce on the vinyl. Only 500 copies were pressed, and less than half of those made it to the U.S.A. You know what to do!