The Flatliners - Cynics [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)

The Flatliners

Cynics [7 inch] (2009)

Fat Wreck Chords

After making a slight sonic transition between their 2005 and 2007 full-lengths (Destroy to Create and The Great Awake), the Flatliners are back with the stopgap Cynics 7" before their next full-length in 2010. With this release you had better believe that they aren't fixing what isn't broke. The Great Awake honed their sound into slick punk blasts with strong ska undertones and Cynics picks up right where that album left off.

The A side blasts off with "Filthy Habits," which is the standout of the three songs. While it wouldn't have sounded out of place on The Great Awake, it doesn't feel like the band are stagnating. In fact, with tight drumming, rollicking guitars and lyrics like "I can't listen to sad songs anymore, I get fucking bored," "Filthy Habits" seems to say that the Flatliners are stronger than ever. "This Song Is Like Thunder and Lightening in a Wide Open Field" follows and is also quite enjoyable. In a similar vein to "Filthy Habits," it speeds along with almost snarled lyrics. The final track, "407" is a bit of a more diverse affair, starting with a slower tempo toned-down verse and then building into a heavier chorus. It is the weakest of the tracks but is by no means a throwaway.

While the Flatliners may only bring a few new ideas to the table with Cynics it is not to be ignored. The band is at the point where each song they write is worthy of repeated spins and they are gaining momentum. Granted, if their past albums weren't your cup of tea, Cynics won't change your mind, but for those who are listening, it's a nice little ear snack. With the Lawrence Arms, A Wilhelm Scream and Small Brown Bike all putting out 7"s/EPs this fall, Cynics may get less attention, but it's safe to say that it deserves a listen just as much as anything else that has come out recently.