Flag, The – “Heat Waves” – [Geographic North]
The Flag is Ted McGrath and “Heat Waves” is his solo project of electronic beats, drum machines and distorted vocals. Having left the sort of noise group These Are Powers, McGrath ventured forward into sound exploration and came up with the ten tracks that make up “Heat Waves”. Everything old is new again and this somewhat follows in that line of thinking with references to 1980’s synth driven, dark wave propulsive sort of dance tunes. I heard a strong connection to Suicide, which is always a good thing, musically. But do not be deceived: this is very 2015 sounding. Pedals, drum machines and other sounds create the aural background for lyrics about many things dark and empty. Song titles set the mood. The beats/anti-beats scatter across the auditory pallet while The Flag distorts tales to a degree of not understanding but still picking out topics urban 21st century dwellers can understand, even if distorted. This should be the future of pop music. It won’t be, but it should.