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Flashlight Brown - My Degeneration (Cover Artwork)

Flashlight Brown

Flashlight Brown: My DegenerationMy Degeneration (2003)
Buena Vista Entertainment

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Flashlight and I have a bit of a history, so to speak. I think they've played during every stage of my musical journey and participation in the punk scene. I remember them opening for the Smugglers at St. Catharine's now closed Mind Bomb as a young energetic ska-punk band that stole the show. Their .
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Flashlight and I have a bit of a history, so to speak. I think they've played during every stage of my musical journey and participation in the punk scene. I remember them opening for the Smugglers at St. Catharine's now closed Mind Bomb as a young energetic ska-punk band that stole the show. Their tracks on Stomp's "All Skanadian Club" series soundtracked all types of parties and road trips in my high school years. Years later they played my frosh week along with Grade, my first show in University. Hell I've since moved to their hometown.

So it was strange for me to hear that big US major label Hollywood Records were signing them. To see Rob Cavallo, producer of both "Dear You" and "Dookie" credited on the back of their album is something I never expected to see.

"My Degeneration" seems like something of a transitionary album for the band. They're no longer the young ska-punk band of ol' but not quite the big Foo Fighters style rock act they seem to be growing into.

As much as I see Flashlight Brown billed on pop punk tours, they really manage to avoid numerous pitfalls of that genre. Their sound is much more muscular than many of their peers. Where a similar band would insert a stereotypical 2003 pop punk facet *, Flashlight tends to jump into a very well placed traditional rock'n'roll guitar solo. Along with this Cavallo thankfully left a lot of the grit in the songs. The lead vocals sound like that of a real person and not a studio-perfected robot.

"Ready To Roll" is a pure early-Weezer geek song disguised as a driving rock anthem. Tracks like "Patricia," "Looking Away" and "Loose The Shades" provide a great balance between pop hooks and punk rock muscle. Of course, with all the humour the band injects into their songs some of it undoubtedly falls short. If you're expecting the skittering upstroke guitar of yesterday, with the exception of a few flourishes "My Degeneration" won't satisfy. Also the majority of the of tracks here are re-imagined versions of songs they're recorded on their past few albums. While the group was likely pressured to put all their best material to use on their breakthrough American release, it's sure to leave a few old fans scratching their heads.

"My Degeneration" has its flaws but manages to very respectably re-establish Flashlight Brown as a good pop-punk act that hasn't compromised making good, fun rock music in the name of marketability.





* "stereotypical 2003 pop punk facet" meaning any combination of the following: (1) a beat that allows for perfect synchronized jumping (2) a marketable emo verse of sappy sentimentality that doesn't fit the song (3) a trendy and entirely unnecessary scream in an otherwise non-hardcore song (4) impossible to reproduce 15-20 part harmonies, etc.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Da_Kootsmeister (October 13, 2006)

Bracket? i know they were called flashlight, but i did not know about bracket, assuming that's true... this cd is great, i listen to it all the time, flashlight brown is great in concert, as long as they aren't drunk, i've never seen that, but i know they like their liquor. also to all you guys bashing this band, fine... they're like good charlotte, you either love em or you you hate em, there is very little middle ground, although there is some.

Anonymous (October 22, 2004)

i really loved tihis c.d. flashlight is awesome, their raw sound is really great! they used to be called bracket?

Anonymous (May 2, 2003)

Has anyone seen the new LTJ e-card?

Man, they totally pissed all over "Look What Happened".

That CD is going to blow chunks. I'm so dissapointed in them.

Anonymous (April 30, 2003)

Aggies huh? Did you live in J-Hall? I was in South-Maritime.

ATDI-81

adam (April 30, 2003)

Yeah it was Grade's CD release show, I've got the poster from it too. I remember sticking it to the door of my room a few days before the show and getting wierd looks from all the Aggies.

adam

at_the_drive_in_21 (April 30, 2003)

To the reviewer:

Was that Frosh Week show you mentioned in Guelph? I was at that show during my frosh week as well.

Grade ripped it up, it was their CD release party for "Headfirst Straight to Hell". I have the poster for that show on my wall.

at_the_drive_in_21 (April 30, 2003)

"I saw these guys open for Motion City Soundtrack and All Amercian Rejects, I thought they were horrible."

Probably because you were there to see the All American Rejects...
----

Ha ha, what a great comment!

Also, Anthrax is sweet. Thanks for bringing up my first ever favourite band. I'm going to dig up my tape of "Among the Living" right now. I Am the Law was always my favourite song.

at_the_drive_in_21 (April 30, 2003)

Ahhh, Flashlight. These guys have been one of my favourite hometown bands since I saw them in Guelph open up for Mustard Plug in the summer of '98.

I was surprised to see this album on the racks, but was disappointed that there are only 3 new songs not on previous releases. 2 of said new songs had been released on their website as MP3s months ago.

I really wished the band had recorded more new material for this, and it pains me to hear songs I know so well re-recorded with slick almost over-production. Then again, it may just be because I like the more raw sound they got out of their "Self Titled" and "Running Season" records. They butchered Lose the Shades as well. "Hey David"? Give me a break.

So on a whole, give me a call when they release a true "new" album instead of re-packaging and re-releasing something I already own.

Don't get me wrong, its good for new fans to get introduced to them with a collection of some of their best songs. I still love this band, and will continue to see them whenever I get the chance. These guys deserve all the attention they get.

I give the album 7/10 because the songs are good, but nothing I haven't already heard and enjoyed for years.

Anonymous (April 29, 2003)

dissing ska might be the dumbest thing you can do. its 2003- if you dont like ska, dont listen. but dissing ska as a genre is pointless as fuck.. because there are ska bands that have put out PERFECT and NEAR PERFECT records..(slackers, hepcat)
i gaurentee your band hasnt..
so enough of the ska bashing. please once and for all..

I guess I can't have an opinion on a genre of music, can't I? Ah, that's right. I'm on a punk message board where opinions like mine get crushed by the idiocy of people like you.

I used to be real huge in ska, it was my favorite genre of music. I then decided that I want something more out of my music. Most ska comes off as incredibly cheesy, I think.

My bands haven't put out perfect or near perfect records? I guess bands like Anthrax, Metallica, The Ramones, Clash, Nirvana, Dredg all pretty much mean nothing.

When you want to guarentee something, make sure you actually know what you're getting your sorry ass into. Because most of the bands I listen to are legends, will be legends and will make history and have redefined music or will in the future, rather than some ska band.

Now please, have a nice tall glass of Shut The Fuck Up.

Anonymous (April 29, 2003)

dissing ska might be the dumbest thing you can do. its 2003- if you dont like ska, dont listen. but dissing ska as a genre is pointless as fuck.. because there are ska bands that have put out PERFECT and NEAR PERFECT records..(slackers, hepcat)
i gaurentee your band hasnt..
so enough of the ska bashing. please once and for all..

Anonymous (April 28, 2003)

Ska...bleh. What a cheesy genre of music that is. No offense to anyone, but man, the horns can be too much and it comes off incredibly cheesy.

The only ska band I even like are The Pietasters.

No matter what anybody says, Maggie Mae is a kick ass song.

Anonymous (April 28, 2003)

I liked them a lot more when they were called Bracket.

Anonymous (April 28, 2003)

more like Asslight Brown...as well as Craplight Brown.

Anonymous (April 27, 2003)

"I saw these guys open for Motion City Soundtrack and All Amercian Rejects, I thought they were horrible."

Probably because you were there to see the All American Rejects...

Anonymous (April 27, 2003)

More like Craplight Brown!
Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Anonymous (April 27, 2003)

i've show these guys something brown.....

Anonymous (April 27, 2003)

The Toasters are so much better than any ska out there today . NYCSKA in the hizouse!

viva la toasters,
-feedmynightmare
( im fucked up )

Anonymous (April 26, 2003)

Saw them live a while back, I think they're good.

Anonymous (April 26, 2003)

i like mest because they've got a nazi

Anonymous (April 26, 2003)

I really like this cd.. and listen to it alot, the only other thing I have to compare it to is the self titled flashlight cd, which is good but i lke the new album better.

Ryan
www.emoisead.net

inagreendase (April 25, 2003)

scott if you've never heard of arrogant sons of bitches (ASOB), i think it's time. good stuff. long island locals, they're good guys.

Anonymous (April 25, 2003)

the synchronized jumping comment made me laugh cuz its so true....simple plan

and EVERYONE ELSE, too. not just simple plan. new found glory, sum 41, mest, good charlotte. all those guys do it.

Anonymous (April 25, 2003)

the synchronized jumping comment made me laugh cuz its so true....simple plan

Anonymous (April 25, 2003)

Flashlight is really talented. Awesome new album and they're good live

Anonymous (April 25, 2003)

if you are looking fow good ska, then you should check out Jump up! records, they just released like a 3 disc ska comp. that has a bunch of up and coming ska acts. Also, it is being sold for only like 15.00!

Anonymous (April 25, 2003)

good footnote, bad band, the first time I saw them they were ok (playing with frenzal/chixdiggit - broken leg), the next 2 times they were horrible....certainly nothing special enough for a major contract. -bigjerk

Anonymous (April 25, 2003)

Ahh the mind bomb....that was the best place ever for sure....tons of bands played there

evildeadalive (April 25, 2003)

I bought this album for my girlfriend. I quite rather enjoyed it. My all time favourite song by these dudes is that My Bike Is Gone song, or whatever the hell it is called, on the first all skanadian comp. Catchy as all hell, and hilarious.

BaByStAbBeR (April 25, 2003)

Scott, you should check out the Spitvalves, I think they are out of Orlando.I dunno, I saw some people talkin 'bout them on the site so I decided to go to their site and download some stuff. Pretty good. I don't know how new they are or anything.

Oh yeah, good call on the return of the Buddy Icons.

I thought the Flashlight Brown review was very well done Adam. I give you props.The CD is ok. Nothin revolutionary about it but nothin particularly bad about it either. It was very................ok.

Anonymous (April 25, 2003)

I seriously want a good Ska band to come out of nowhere right now. I mean c'mon, you guys know you love to put a little Ska in your CD Player while you're crusing down the street on a hot summer day (while sipping on gin 'n juice).

- Scott
http://www.local-felons.com/
('97 is long gone dude)

StabbingGoldfish (April 25, 2003)

I saw these guys open for Motion City Soundtrack and All Amercian Rejects, I thought they were horrible.

tenderbransonx (April 25, 2003)

Here is to footnotes! Fucking A. Thats just what we've been wanting for so long around here. Made my day.

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