~Tirhakah Love (@GoonTherapy)
The occasional swampy rock incantation and dreamy DIY vocalization save FLAUNT’s, Rave Noir from being an angsty mixed bag. Toeing the murky line between eclecticism and indecisiveness, FLAUNT, is fond of the times when “a Zeppelin tune would be followed by a hit single by the Little River Band and then something by the Gap Band.” That n translates seamlessly on a record that features a mystic hand drum on “Rave On” and a boiling trip-pop “Restraint.” But the album is a 17-track marathon with as many technical bells and whistles as lyrical and thematic blunders. The album, unfortunately, suffers from incoherence. It vocally fails to launch with Justin Jennings and Joseph Vitterito never being able to match the jovial vibe of The Postal Service nor the rock sensibility of The Killers.
Unlike their last album CODON, which primarily featured heady turntablism and cheeky instrumentals, Rave Noir, is emotive and heartbreaking. Often erring on the side of self-loathing, the duo are tellingly reflective. “Happiness used to be my downfall,” they pine before breaking out into a southern rock murk, complete with bluesy acoustic plucking on “I Don’t Wanna Fall Asleep.” On “Restraint,” melodically droning vocalizations keep the skulking groove apace while a buzzing electric guitar buzzes over the bridge — “You couldn’t help yourself.” These moments are fleeting and surrender too often to drops of energy. “Why, oh why, do you have no restraint?” the duo whine, the kinetic energy built over the first two minutes giving way to an unfulfilling acoustic finale.
But the band isn’t all doom and gloom. “Jungle” is a dreamy sprint with a knocking and jovial chord progression. The song’s utter gleam is centered on freedom that comes with new possibilities in leaving behind the chaos of home. Their cover of Miike Snow’s “Genghis Khan” is another example of exuberance underscored by slick beatboxing and twitchy vocals. But these moments are too few and become lost when the sonic energy isn’t always taken advantage of. “Honey Can Kill” features a similar beatboxing edginess but its chorus isn’t intriguing or tasteful enough to keep up.
Rave Noir is frustratingly inconsistent. Their rock isn’t decisively rock. Their electronic, not genuinely shocking. The eclecticism that the band desires is a real hindrance to their potential growth in two or three genres instead of simple adequacy in five or six.
Listen to FLAUNT here