Flinch – Flesh Enema

Flinch
Flesh Enema

This seems like the perfect opportunity to discuss my feelings about punk-rock and why, in general, I find it boring and quite often painful. As we all know, punk isn’t new. Disenfranchised kids have been picking up guitars and playing their brand of rock fast and loud for a few decades at least. In fact, any kid with something to say can pick up a guitar, learn two or three of the best chords, and turn up the volume to create punk rock. It’s not particularly difficult to play punk music. What is incredibly difficult is to make it good.
The problem is, really, that there are a million or more punk bands all sounding the same. And, frankly, I like my music original. I want my rock to have an edge, something about it that’s different. I want my punk-rock to be full of energy yet still have talent and originality. Don’t play the same three chords over and over again while screaming away. Instead, try different things, try non-traditional rhythm, try varied singing styles. Try something.
That leads us to Flinch, a DC-area punk-rock band, and this release, which contains songs from the Flesh Enema EP and the Dyslexic Rhino EP. The band plays hardcore-tinged punk-rock with lyrics about sex and drugs and all the seedy aspects of life. And Flinch clearly play both styles of punk-rock: the fast, loud, and obnoxiously painfully boring style as well as the more original, attitude-filled style that reminds me why punk ever got any fans. Unfortunately, Flinch play both interchangeably, almost one followed by the next. A good example starts off this album, with “Lonely Holiday,” the first track, and “Hale Bop,” the third, both being pretty much solid yet typical punk tracks. The guitars rip off a few power chords, the drums go crazy, and a male singer belts out repetitive and biting lyrics. Yet “Kick the Can,” the second track, has a female singer, and perhaps because of her grrrl-rock style drawl or something else, these songs have all the attitude without the painful teadiousness.
Now this continues, not necessarily with the male-sung songs being bad and the female-sung ones being good, but that’s the way it appears in most cases. A good example is the L7-esque “Angie Speaks,” a song that’s bitter and angry while being more of a rock track than a three-chord scream-fest. There’s even a killer guitar solo. And the male-sung “Candle” sounds decently like a sped-up Social Distortion track. “Espontaneous Combustion” has a great rock-n-roll instrumental intro and some wild bass. In fact, the music on this one instrumental is better than most of these songs combined. And “R.O.M.” is very throw-back, sounding something like old and a bit heavier Stones. How weird is that? And “Brainless” almost works its way into the metal realm, but at least they do that well, and I don’t mind this track at all. But then we have the kind of angry monotone rock songs like “Schizophrenia” and the wailing “Here We Go Again” that sound like the band listened to too many Sex Pistols albums and just sped up the pace. “(I’m an) Addicted” is all-out punk mayhem, and “RMIII669” is barely listenable, with its chugging guitars and low, annoying vocals. These folks have to be on some major drugs.
Perhaps my biggest complaint with this CD is its length. I can’t take punk-rock in big pieces. That’s why most punk bands play under 2-minute tracks and record 20-minute albums. This one is over 50 minutes, and by the end, I have a splitting headache and never want to hear it again. That’s a shame, because there are some truly good hard-rock, punk-rock tracks on this release, and Flinch clearly has some talent. Now if only they’d show it more often and consistently.