I know I have threatened to write about The Flaps in the past, but somehow never getting around to it and although they did get a a very brief mention in my ravings about the Empiricals, a few years ago, they certainly deserve much more – and what perfect timing now that they have a new album “Again” out on the wonderful Kelp Records – http://kelprecords.com/theflaps/the-flaps-rise-from-the-ashes-with-again-2/ .
Thanks to DJ tic at CKCU and an interview he had with some members of the band (John Higney and Martin Newman), I was made aware of their second release and just missed out on winning a copy of the disc because I was dumb enough to mistype his e-mail (I really didn’t mind purchasing a copy from Compact Music as I can support the band and one of the great Ottawa record stores). I really enjoyed the tracks that tic played that Wednesday, and their first self titled album is also favourite of mine, not to mention that Pat Lawlor also played in another one of my favourite bands from Ottawa, Polaris before forming The Flaps.
With music that is called “instromadness” and the band described as follows: “Four misshapen misfits, non-standard arrangements of jazz standards, a disturbing instrumental reworking of Shonen Knife, and original numbers that evoke an amusement park ride, a candy apple, a midway, or outer/inner space travel. This is The Flaps.” – how can you not love them and be a little intrigued at what sonic sculptures or aural/visual masterpieces these veterans of the Ottawa music scene will create as they serve their interpretation of surf, jazz, psych, pop, rock, ambient, exotica and more.
I always find it hard to describe great music and I will do what I usually do and ramble on about some of the musical references that come to my head and in this case also the images that The Flaps paint in my mind **.
With The Flaps it is a bit easier to do in some ways as these guys have just written the soundtrack to your life or at least someone’s life, full of colourful characters and exotic places without even uttering a word and to top it off, they have invited you to join them for an amazing ride, a party in your mind. So don’t go another minute in the dull aural emptiness you call existence, but fill your ears with the world-roving, mind-expanding sound of The Flaps.
“Oriental Twist” starts out with you heading out to a happening go-go twist party somewhere far away and possibly lost in time where the young Ventures roam and possibly some Huntington Cads, a few Halibuts and maybe even a few Insect Surfers. This is followed by a jazzy diversion in “Smells Like Awesome” as you board a plane that will take you to an exotic tropical island in “No Maui” full of beautiful sounds and colours and maybe a few Tiki Tones.
Then things get a bit darker, creating a somber mood till your heart starts pounding and the pace quickens to “Escape The Sight Of Death” only to lead you face to face with “Mephisto” who holds you hostage in his tortured world. You somehow manage to escape this nightmare to find yourself back on the island and this time on the beach as a “Dunebuggy” goes racing past with the mist of the waves and the sand swirling past you and the beautiful people on the beach.
Too much excitement you say, well the perfect time to relax at the upscale lounge sipping your martini and soaking in the sounds of the “Day Of Langour” – a cocktail jazz meets a bohemian bachelor pad concoction, that these swinging cats are playing – a place where Juan García Esquivel would feel right at home.
A perfect ending to an adventure packed day and now “Night Is Going To Fall” as you put the needle down on your Frields Of Dean Martinez record and sink deeply into your bed and drift off to sleep.
You awaken to meet another day ahead and the silence is broken by the sound of “Strange Guests” next door, as a sitar echoes and creeps through the cracks and crevices only to mutate into a cacophony of sounds that can almost melt your brain. Oh, the strange things that chemicals do to people, as you escape to the quiet of the outdoors with the soothing “Waltz” a Calexico sound comforting your ears only to be interrupted by some rocking sounds that blend into what sounds like The Animals as you see in the distance a ‘house in the rising sun’.
It’s going to be a warm day and this trek is seems longer as the sun beats down on you. You hope for some shade – oh, “The Importance Of Understanding Clouds” & wouldn’t it just be nice to just drift through them. The City is coming to life and in “The Wiper”, things get hectic, noisy, but somehow still laid back and fuzzy as you find the groove that melts the pavement beneath your feet. How can you describe all this “What Is The Word?” you’re searching for – “Alive”; “Exciting”; “Magnificent”; “Impeccable”; “Exotic”; “Essential” ? – or maybe it’s just “AGAIN” by The Flaps. -Click here for their site.
** – Disclaimer: “These are just my thoughts and images and I’m sure they don’t resemble yours or anyone’s living or dead and you will have to manufacture your own!”- Wally