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The Flavor That Kills - Book of Secrits (Shortwave Records)

16 March 2024

I didn’t know that people still made albums that sounded like this. By that, I mean albums full of music garnered from the outer fringes of an almost forgotten musical past. Despite being a band making music in the here and now, musically, The Flavor That Kills owes much to what has gone before. If not always in sound, then certainly in attitude.

Book of Secrits (see, even conventional spelling isn’t their thing,) is a rich musical tapestry sewn together from lurid and lush sonic colours – sixties psychedelia, proto-punk urges, (I mean, if you disagree with me that the current single, “Nerve” doesn’t sound like the sort of thing that The MC5 revelled in, then I’ll hang up my pen now,) heavy soul, R&B (when it still actually stood for rhythm ‘n’ blues) alt-pop visions and garage rock verve.

And whilst it resonates with the sounds of the past, it is an album which concerns itself with the future, and more specifically, the potential destruction of human civilization. Unlike many bands who explore such concepts and come away with music which seems like a detached, academic treatment of the subject, here, there is a natural feeling of mania and angst, impenting doom and of things being out of control. Way, way out of control.

It may be the personalities and preferred generic tastes of the players bumping heads. Maybe it is the fact that the seeds of the album were sown during the chaos and isolation of lockdown. There is perhaps more than an echo of the personal difficulties that affected at least one band member, which find an outlet through the lyrics. Maybe The Flavor That Kills is just that good a band. But whatever the driving force behind the album, it sets up a wonderfully odd feeling that these are songs being played at the last party before we are all blown into the wind, the soundtrack of the last gig before the apocalypse.

It’s time to go out with a bang, not a whimper. Who’s with me?