Flashguns - Passion Of A Different Kind (Humming/Rough Trade)

Well worth the wait!

Released Oct 24th, 2011 via Rough Trade / By Mark Beckett
Flashguns - Passion Of A Different Kind (Humming/Rough Trade) When singer Sam Felix Johnston rasps the line "you and me, both know how we feel, there's no point waiting, there's no point hanging around" three songs in, he captures the entire spirit and naivety of a first love in one swift lyric. Their latest single 'No Point Hanging Around' is one of a whole host of songs dedicated to the delicate subject of youthful love, yet they're not decorated with similarly weak chimes and melodies, no, Passions of a Different Kind is all pummeling chords, heavy riffs and hard hitting drums, this is youthful love with balls.

The single released a week earlier is bookended by a riff closer to hair metal than indie and contains a soaring chorus, of which it's in good company. Considering their debut EP Matching Hearts, Similar Parts was released back in the summer of 2009, it's been a long time in coming, however this is a band who produce their own artwork, shoot their own videos and have toured extensively all over the country whilst writing new music all the time. The three of them have put their heart and soul into this record and it shows.

The result of their endeavor is a full-length album every inch louder, stronger, more polished and more emotive than their earlier EP. The only surviving track 'Racing Race' has earned its place as the closing track with nearly seven minutes of scratchy guitars, chunky basslines and chanted vocals all lending to a wild west vibe. The turnaround started with lead single 'Come and See The Lights', the euphoric chorus complete with twinkling guitar melodies reflect its lyrics about the northern lights quite beautifully.

Despite citing Mozart and Vivaldi as influences, their 'amps up to eleven' tendencies are heralded from the off with opener 'Sounds of the Forrest' recorded live in their barn converted studio in the wilderness. This raw sound is carried through into the title track, its Johnny Marr-esque strummed verses, huge chorus, breakdown and epic finale are woven together by crescendoing guitar riffs, it encapsulates everything great about Flashguns.

If you set aside the catchiness of these songs for a moment, you'll appreciate the quality of the rhythm section. The drums of Giles Robinson are exhilarating whilst Olly Scanlon's pulsating basslines ape those of Peter Hook. Like the Joy Division man, Scanlon's bass occasionally turns lead guitar and on the fist-clenchingly bittersweet 'Good Breeding' dictates the funkiness of the the verses and drives the writhing chorus.

Given that these are still early days, it's surprising how Flashguns have written about subjects with a maturity that surpasses even those ten years in advance of them. 'Candles Out', for example, is a vivid depiction of sex and 'The Beginning' a unique take on depression, both songs that you warm to once you grasp their meaning.

The pinnacle of their song writing abilities however comes in the form of 'Heat & Fire'. Beginning with a finger-picked guitar melody that hails from Fleetwood Mac's Rumours era, it transcends into a colossal climax of tremolo guitar and shrieking vocals as the lyric "some people have to learn to feel pain, I tried to explain" strains every sinew of Johnston's voice.

It's been a good few years in the making but Flashguns have more than arrived. With the talent that these three lads posses; a powerful rhythm section, an incredible vocalist and lyricist, an overall knack of writing songs that could close almost any set, and given that they have all this at such a tender age, why would they rush into their first album? They have now built the platform and in doing so have set themselves a very high standard for the future, but even if it takes five years next time, if it's anything like this it'll be worth the wait.