Music Reviews



Le Grand Magistery

Flare as in Flair. Ric Flair, the Nature Boy! The Man. WOOOOO! My brother named the family dog Flair after North Carolina’s finest as well. So Flare get a bit of that treasured rub just by virtue of who they sound “like.” But how do they sound? Ahem. From the press release I see that, holy shit, the mastermind behind Flare has long hair and a beard! A great fucking beard at that! (What makes a beard a great beard? Well, sit down, junior and let me tell you. A great beard has a sort of Kenny Rogers-esque fullness and groomed-ness to it that…) Which is weird because listening to the album, and particularly the fragile, pure enunciated vocals, I pictured LD Benghtol to be a lil’ malnourished wisp of a thing who would have trouble carrying a Pastels cassette and a Smiths LP at the same time. So either you shouldn’t read press releases because your romantic images will be destroyed, or you should eyeball them because you’ll learn things like, the leader of this band looks like a beefed-up Alan Moore. That’s fucking cool.

Oh what? Like I’m not going to talk about the music? Well, maybe I’m not. Maybe Flare’s music is too fucking gorgeous for me to talk about. Maybe. No, definitely. But I should anyway (I used to be a good writer, you know). Cuz this is maudlin music that Morrissey and Belle & Sebastian would sell their souls for. It sips cold drinks with umbrellas in them on the same beauty plateau that the Magnetic Fields, Electronic and Momus lounge on. Every moment of Hung is ace; a tour of a hopeless romantic’s New York City. “All The Money’s Gone” is a quiet lament in a Japanese garden. “School of New York” combines a simmering Cure-ish baseline with shuffling accordion, strings and sighs of “a life of endless treachery,” that are so so delicious. “If/Then” is just a wonderful swooning song of unrequited love and private torment, including offering to shave his beard (no mean feat!) in return for being smothered with love, and the piano and strings are so rich and umm… Paul McCartney would kill for them. There’s the swells and soars and dips and dives that go with any timeless torch song. You WISH you had this song back in high school. And god, god, god, the lament configuration of “Keep It To Yourself” is a stately dirge built around a simple acoustic guitar figure, with swishes of xylophone and keyboard •- it’s all dignity in the face of love meltdown, trying so hard to keep from crying and begging and pulling at your lover’s pant leg. Damn. And then he goes all Tim Buckley, except with added singing saw (!), on “Obvious!” “Glitter” is not the crappy Mariah Carey movie, but the sound someone hears right before he/she jumps. “Wound Culture” is perhaps one of the twenty coolest song titles EVER, and just is way too cultured and mortally wounded for the confines of pop music; imagine Scott Walker and a symphony orchestra gnawing off their legs and crawling into a snowy night to die. Mishima would love this one.

Le Grand Magistery:

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