EP Review: flirting. - 'This Would Be Funny if it Were Happening to Anyone But Me'
Everything seems to stick on this superb debut EP.
Some people use the term "emo" as a derivative definition of sad sounding alternative music. People also ignorantly presume that it's the sound of mid-noughties pop-punk titans Panic! At the Disco, My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy et al. To paraphrase Saint Super Hans, people also listen to the 1975 and voted to leave the EU. You can't trust people, Jeremy. Emo music is an art form within itself, the perfect combination between the immovable sadness of lyrics and bleak bursts of guitar music, often masquerading as less complex passages of sound than they actually are. Emo can range from the anthemic teen messiness of Cap'n Jazz, the irrepressible virtuosity of TTNG and the antisocial, almost amateurish sounds of Slint. Flirting have mined the very soul of what makes real emo what it is and have turned it into something truly 2018, as well as showing off what makes them stand alone amongst the genre.
"This Would Be Funny if it Were Happening to Anyone But Me" feels like jumping into a hot soapy bath after you've experienced a major bike crash- it's warm and encompassing and despite the pain it brings, you know it's a necessary, purposeful pain that with added exposure you can learn to love. Opening track "Yum" combines Poppy Waring's haunting voice with spoken word vocals and it's impossible not to be reminded of Slint's masterpiece "Spiderland" but remastered for the instagram generation Flirting are destined to inspire. Along with next track "Peppermint" (which features a cracking name check of Ricky Gervais) the music ranges from sparse, harmonic guitars through Smiths-inspired jangles to soundscapes that make Explosions in the Sky sound like Keane. Waring shows off her versatility with the existential questioning, YouTube ad soundalike "Interlude" (guest spoken word by Hattie Long) before the band inherit beauty in its purest form in "Lilac", its shimmering and chiming transporting you away from "emo" and away from music entirely into a dream state.
Astonishingly enough, none of these phenomenal tracks even act as the album highlights. EP closer "In the Dark" exhibits slightly more experimental territory with it's broken piston drumbeats, post-punk ominous guitars (see "Colossus" by Idles, that good) before building and building around a chromatic guitar riff and Waring slurring almost in a stream of consciousness as the music expands into almost Aphex Twin style weirdness. And if it seems like I've name dropped too many bands, I haven't even got started. Like a sad musical grass pokemon, Flirting embrace everything that comes their way and spit it out in the weirdest, most beautiful way possible. There is no way that the "emo" cynics are gonna fall for this with them being too busy donning their tracksuits, but Flirting will definitely teach them something. A mini masterpiece.
Words by James Kitchen
The band will be headlining the Old Blue Last the 6th October 2018 to celebrate the EP’s release.