Flights, History Be Kind – Album Review
Somethingyousaid.com’s Tom Spooner checks out the new offering from Bristol-based band, Flights:
It is rare to hear guitar music that so effortlessly transcends genres as it does on History Be Kind. Flights’ resistance to pigeon-holing on their debut is bound to rub genre-purists up the wrong way but for open-minded types it offers much more.
It may, of course, be argued that there is no place in heavy rock for Flights’ melodic sensitivities. Nor a place in progressive rock for their big choruses. Their shifting time signatures are not welcome in traditional rock and those guitars are just too heavy for Indie. But quite frankly, those that argue these points are misguided. History Be Kind is willfully playful, preferring to transition between and even subvert genre tropes in individual tracks rather than be limited by them.
The Ghost of Things is a good starting point when it comes to understanding the band’s seemingly schizophrenic but oh so carefully plotted sound. Within six minutes, the track encompasses layered post-rock guitars, chugging riffs and soaring vocals all of which build to a chorus that manages to be both bruising and vulnerable. It also deals with one of the album’s central themes – a jaded frustration with illusion, the shadows and ghosts that obscure genuine meaning.
Launching with a huge Desaparecidos-style riff, Empire Gone is another melodic tour-de-force and showcases the superb drumming, an omnipresent source of innovation throughout the album. Elsewhere, Disappointed but Not Surprised is an altogether poppier affair, with mathsy guitars and hooks reminiscent of early Foals whereas the sprawling, shifting movements of Borrowed Time owe more to Oceansize. The more post-rocky Night Pool Supervisor combines subtle keys with intelligent guitar lines to atmospheric effect.
History Be Kind is a Chinese puzzle of an album – it is intricate and complex. Rules are challenged, sometimes flouted altogether. Time signatures glide effortlessly like quicksilver, huge riffs emerge and then instantly disappear, layers are added, lyrics appear literal only to get shrouded in metaphorical abstraction moments later, melodies emerge, harmonies build and then dissolve. The music shifts and mutates as you listen but for those willing to take the time, it is an enigma worth decoding.
History Be Kind is available on limited double gatefold vinyl and digital now via SCYLLA RECORDS.
Review by Tom Spooner.