I grew up in what I affectionately call a house of prog, so supergroups sometimes get a bit tiresome. As a result, Wild Flag didn’t exactly incite bouts of excitement in me at the mere mention of the members — but from the first moments that thought was given the boot.
What’s more, this indie rock supergroup isn’t Canadian (no complaints about the numerous indie rock supergroups hailing from the Great White North, though), is a “girl group” (a term that admittedly seems a bit sexist, doesn’t it?) and is really very good. Wild Flag avoids some of those typical pitfalls — at least, it does on record — and maintains a reasonably cohesive sound across the 40 minutes of album on hand. It’s hard to ask for too much more from a supergroup, but that’s not all Wild Flag can hold high.
This frenetic, excitable indie rock keeps the flashy stuff to a minimum. Instead, the focus here is on effective guitar work and songs with simple structures; the distortion is never in your face, the production is understated, the rhythms are foot-tapping-inducing, and the melodies are addictive. When the guitar just isn’t quite enough, synthesizers break in with more to keep interest up — but there’s never unnecessary pomp in the way. It’s cohesive, punk-inflected indie rock with loud guitars, bold vocals and that sound that feels meant for the stage.
That’s the beauty of it: Wild Flag is just simple, solid pop music you can get behind, and if you happen to take interest in the members and their previous projects, it’s merely an added bonus. If you don’t know this is that band that Carrie Brownstein, Rebecca Cole, Mary Timony and Janet Weiss — all respectable songwriters in their own rights, though some names are certainly inevitably higher-billed than others — then it really wouldn’t make a lick of difference.
Indie rock albums that flow as well as this debut does are hard to come by: From start to finish, the whole thing blasts expectations into oblivion. Supergroup or not, Wild Flag hits all the right notes, and not much else matters.