Somewhere between the 1960's and the late 1980's reside Sweden's The Flare Up. Somewhere between 60's garage rock and 80's sleaze rock The Flare Up reinvent punk rock. Their second album Whip Em Hard, Whip Em Good is not as quirky as the title sounds (even if your memory attempts to resurrect Devo). There's a well-ordered brashness to the The Flare Up's music which certainly draws from early punk. Yet there's a knotty measure of rowdy fun of 60's garage rock which is naughtier than the saccharine, pre-psychedelic Beatles but not as evil as Altamont-era Rolling Stones. Then The Flare Up swaggers like LA sleaze without the hair spray and eyeliner. Chaos is held together by terrific bass lines and a vicious rhythm section on Put In a Letter or Vicious Seed. They can be as dull as worn Formica (but so 60's) as on the title track, repulsive and edgy on To Kill A Puerto Rican, or danceable on The Rudes. Mostly it's all good, even inspired, except for Manne Svensson vocals. Swerving close to Justin Hawkins-type falsetto, he becomes irritating rather quickly. Whip Em Hard, Whip Em Good is a short album and contains some songs from earlier EPs, but it's great to hear some rock that isn't alt rock or grunge or post grunge or whatever the latest push is from the mainstream labels. Recommended.
Drawing from diverse roots, The Flare Up has created a lively and sometimes unpredictable twist on a punk theme.
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