If you’re anything like me, you’ve always secretly dreamed of starting a hardcore band. The screaming, the violent guitars, the gnarly band logos, it all makes you wish you were punk enough to pull it off. If Montreal band Swinging Flaws is any indication, maybe the punks all dream of starting indie pop bands.
Formed from members of various bands in the Montreal hardcore scene, including Harriers, Lifespent, Ordeal, and Tangled, Swinging Flaws debut EP Mixed Feelings is five well-crafted ruminations on just that, your feelings and the doubt you have that keeps you from getting them across.
Although the volume here is less than in their other projects, the band isn’t timid. The guitars, bass, and drums are full-bodied, and frequently accented by some deft and tasteful guitar soloing. Frontwoman Annie Roy’s plainspoken lyrics are still front and centre though.
On “Cycle”, we’re treated to a lovely portrait of a date out on an aimless summer bike ride. It made me miss those not so long ago days when I didn’t have to force myself to get out on the bike in the January weather. The most emotional song here is the centerpiece, “Soulmates”. In the EP’s biggest heart-swelling chorus, Roy sings about the unbreakable bond she has with someone she loves, who’s been there for her since she was born. You might want to remember this one to send to your mom on Mother’s day. The mournful closer “Until we meet again” sums up the feeling of the EP well: “I know you’ll never hear what I’m saying/But it feels so good to let it all out.” It all ends with a guest guitar solo from Jérôme Martin, which made me think of Guns & Roses, but without the guns and twice as many roses.
Thanks for the inspiration, Swinging Flaws. I’ll start that hardcore band one day.
Top Track: “Soulmates”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)