If you spent every minute, every penny of your adult life on the road, you might make a record like Dead Language.
There’s something that happens when four people have been playing music together, day in and day out, for ten years. In every basement, every colossal concert hall, every small European nation that would have them, the same four people playing the same four instruments. A full decade of plane tickets and van repairs and hangovers and fast food. At some point, the interaction between instruments, between members, transcends the brotherly love of most touring bands and enters the terrifying realm of twin telepathy. The Flatliners aren’t just four dudes banging out riffs five hundred miles from home every night. They’re four dudes banging out riffs in the hallways of the Overlook Hotel just like the unsettling twin girls in the The Shining. You see what I’m getting at yet?
It’s been three years since Cavalcade (2010), the Flatliners’ most successful album to date. A behemoth of a record, it brought famous friends like A Wilhelm Scream and Dillinger Four into the fold for huge songs like “Shithawks” and “Bleed.”
Which is why Dead Language is the perfect response – it’s the brutally crisp sound of four people in a room, the sonic payoff of a decade of learning how to play as one fierce unit. Its strength doesn’t come from racks of guitars or bass drops, but from its sparse precision. The band’s songwriting chops are as honed as their playing, allowing them the freedom to bang out their point quickly (“Young Professionals”) or take their time to make an impact (“Ashes Away”).
The Flatliners’ records have always been an accurate, honest portrait of where the band lived, from the youthful explosion of Destroy to Create (2005) to the nuance of blooming adulthood on The Great Awake (2007). Which is why Dead Language, the band’s most direct and vital record to date, is the monument to the honesty of ten years in the trenches that it has to be.