Wild Flag – Wild Flag

January 01, 1970





Take two-thirds of Sleater-Kinney, add the helm of Helium
and a key role player from the Minders and you have Wild Flag, a gyno-centric
supergroup. It’s easy to dissect their self-titled debut by separating each
component part: Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss bring the heavy energy heard
on the final S-K album, The Woods;
Brownstein’s gulping vocals and jagged guitar and Weiss’s tumbling, firecracker
drums will satisfy any S-K fans still in mourning. Mary Timony’s elliptical
lead guitar solos give these tight, loud songs some unusual twists and turns
(check “Short Version”). Rebecca Cole, on organ primarily, is the likely source
of the psychedelic edges of many of these songs.


But although they may have cut their teeth in the nineties,
their project doesn’t sound like an attempt to reclaim past glories (or a
revival of the Spells, an earlier Timony / Brownstein diversion), nor does it
sound like a deferential partnership, the sort where each star gets time in the
spotlight while the others sit and wait their turn. While the kick of
recognition of the distinctive styles and contributions of each member is part
of the pleasure, the album sounds like the product of a group, of a powerful
force of equals. And it’s all the better for it.


This is a proudly loud album, with songs like “Racehorse”
and “Future Crimes” hurtling with abandon. Timony and Brownstein trade
songwriting credits and lead vocals through the album, but they’re both working
in a sweet spot of unbridled passion: most of the songs are at least in part
about the power of music, so they’re statements as well as exemplars. These
four riotous women, no longer riot grrrls, sound energized and inspired, happy
to work with one another, happy to ride a riff and to rock unrepentantly. They
know their Black Flag and their Pink Flag,
but they’re Wild in their own way. The album plays like a kick-out-the-jams
rallying cry.


DOWNLOAD: “Something
Came Over Me,” “Racehorse” STEVE KLINGE


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