Flipcoin is on:
I already mentioned Flipcoin‘s new debut album in the last edition of Postman Press, but given this unexpected opportunity to give it more time and love, I’ve elected to expound on that brief blurb with a full review.
Go To Space is a blast. I keep listening to it over and over, having a bunch of fun. I don’t care if the vocals are EQ’ed a little odd; I can look past a single consistent flaw to see a great set of songs collected in one place.
It refuses to stick to one genre or style. That’s just fine; they pull off just about everything they attempt, and most people will probably find at least one song they can get down to.
Personally, I’m into that slow-build, and “Hey Shannon, The Sun’s Up” executes to perfection. It radiates with hope: “Don’t look down, don’t look down… – Your big chance is coming up fast – The future’s always disguised as the past…” Multiple singalong opportunities make this my favorite track. “It’s not your fault at all!”
Do you want delay? Of course you do. “Space Travel 101” delivers. It shimmers in the verses, then explodes for the chorus. A dynamic track. The layering vocals in the middle section are very well executed; you can hear the words to every overlapping line. “Hey Shannon” is my favorite, but “Space Travel 101” is arguably the best song here.
They even emulate Belle & Sebastian very well for one track. “Brand New Bed” features Jenny Weathers on the drums with brushes, to great effect. It’s another singalong, on an album sprawling with them. Wolgamuth writes brilliant hooks, among the best in town.
What makes it great as an album is that, with only a few exceptions, it stays fun and upbeat throughout. With tongue firmly in cheek, on “Bisexual Haircut,” Weathers sings, “I can’t communicate, effectively – ‘Cause I’ve got the bisexual haircut – And it drives me nuts – How nobody notices it!” It skirts both cheese and controversy, and without quite arriving at either, makes me laugh and feel sort of uncomfortable; but I never stop dancing. In that way, they remind me of one of my most favorite bands, They Might Be Giants.
On “Friends With Boys,” Weathers gives advice on approaching love, with a plot twist at the end: “Go and find somebody who will blow you away – And show you something different from your everyday life – learning from each other, that’s how we get stronger – You’ll be feeling okay, but you’re stuck here for today with THE BOYS!” It’s one of the catchiest songs here, reminiscent of the energy in LCD Soundsystem’s “North American Scum”.
Flipcoin isn’t afraid to experiment, either. See: “Liar Extinguisher,” which is the only song they elected not to post the lyrics to on their Bandcamp, notable because this song has about a billion words. It’s cacophony is for fans of stuff like The Dismemberment Plan’s “Girl O’Clock”.
It would be remiss to overlook how tight the drumming is throughout the record. Wolgamuth and Weathers, who split duty on the kit, establish dynamics, and they both know when to play and when not to. Brilliant stuff, the glue that holds this sometimes-chaotic album together.
Opener “I Have Anxiety Dot Com” is an intensely forward description of social anxiety. “How many of you hairless apes are gonna are gonna crawl into my window – Ask me how my day’s been – And then leave the way you came in?” Single lines, under scrutiny, expound possibilities. Weathers says: “When will my heroes stop having non-consensual sex? – And as the world condemns them, I gotta try hard not to defend them…” and I wonder if perhaps she’s talking about Jesse Lacey from Brand New, an emo rock legend who in 2017 (during the 5-year writing process of Go To Space) had allegations come forward that he sexually absused several minors in the early 2000s. If that is indeed what Weathers is talking about, I know I personally had similar contradictory opinions of Lacey at that time (which I went into a little when I picked “Me vs. Maradona vs. Elvis” as one of my favorite emo tracks). Another golden line: “I read a joke book the other day – It was fucking depressing!” It’s funny in a really really sad way.
And that’s basically a summary of the whole album. Their lyrics are generally brooding, but with the exceptions of “Soda Mess” (Weezer’s “Sweater Song” gives way to Built To Spill), “I’m So Sure,” and closer “No Bad Weather,” Go To Space sticks that depression in its lyrics while exhibiting sparkling pop-alt-rock noises. That puts it in a category with a few of my most favorite albums, including The Format’s Dog Problems, and They Might Be Giants’ Flood and Lincoln. Tough to imagine better company.
And now, rumor has it Flipcoin is already dropping another album in April, so keep an ear to the ground for more material from this band that, right now, is Producing, with a capital P.