x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

CD Review: Black Flag - What The…

What The… has no light and shade and ultimately disappoints. As a feat of stamina it’s remarkable.

Black Flag: What The…
Black Flag: What The…

Black Flag What The… (Import) ⋆⋆

That Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters gave himself a homemade Black Flag tattoo at the age of 13 speaks volumes about the band. People who fell for these anti-authoritarians from Hermosa Beach, California, fell for their hardcore punk unreservedly – and often when still of tender years. Now 59, Black Flag linchpin Greg Ginn reformed the band earlier this year. Now comes What The…, the group’s first studio album since 1985’s In My Head and their first recording to feature the vocalist Ron Reyes since 1980’s Jealous Again EP. Navigating a path through its 22 short, sharp shocks feels akin to playing a contact sport, or maybe gatecrashing a particularly ineffectual anger-management class. Ginn and Reyes’s default-setting is “truculent”, and the unrelentingly miffed tone of the album’s lyrics soon seems comically absurd. Though Ginn’s lacerating, gloriously unkempt guitar playing still sounds like that of nobody else, and a theremin, that least obedient of instruments, is gainfully employed to ratchet-up the chaos, What The… has no light and shade and ultimately disappoints. As a feat of stamina, however, it’s ­remarkable.

artslife@thenational.ae