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Posted on June 19th, 2014 (9:00 am) by Nick Manai

When asked about his new album as frontman of the Florida buzz punk band Flashlights, Terry Caudil said that he wants, “the listener to feel like they’re eating candy. Instead, they’re eating old, used parts from a machine that separates colored clothes from white clothes. I want the success that comes with ‘Chinese take-out’ being taken seriously on our rider. And most of all, I want people knocking on my door asking me if this is where Shaft lives.” This kind of frenetic energy is what drives Bummer Summer and while Caudil’s goofball idealism might suggest a lack of sincerity, the title represents the kind of suburban or even Floridian paralysis that contains this energy. “Most of the time I feel like I’m no one,” Caudil repeats as the chorus to the single “Don’t Take Me Seriously.” He doesn’t sound uninspired or manic as much as just a bit bummed.

“All Cats Are Beautiful” continues Flashlights streak of writing emotionally wrecked ballads and their other streak, reported on their website, of writing songs about cats. But whereas the cat imagery on Best Coast debut Crazy For You was heartbreaking, “I wish my cat could talk,” Bethany Cosentino hopelessly pleaded, here it just seems like a cute title behind an otherwise raw exorcism of feelings. “Don’t be shy / I’m a nice guy,” Caudil sings with so much fragility there is no way he can be talking about his feline.

But at the end of the day Bummer Summer is a summer record, just not the kind that goes well with light beer—more like the kind that goes with a forty of malt liquor and waking up anywhere but near the beach. “Best Friends” opens with a catchy thumping guitar riff, but suddenly Cauhil is telling us he started out numb and getting used to being let down even when his love wants him around. These are the summer days when you “go outside for a change.” “Bottle Kids” and “Bummer Summer” continue the trend of catchy indie pop that reminds of a kinder Yuck, a more aggressive Pains of Being Pure at Heart, a less anthem ready Surfer Blood and a little bit more unhappy Gold-Bears.

Comparisons will be made to Superchunk and Built to Spill, but Flashlights also remind you a lot of Blink-182, if they had never made it out of their home town and were forced to continuously record in their garages. Petty infractions become life changing transgressions on Bummer Summer, but Flashlights are smart enough to treat them with humor as if they already one day they will look back on this summer with a smile.

Track List:

  1. Failure
  2. Don't Take Me Seriously
  3. All Cats Are Beautiful
  4. Bottle Kids
  5. Best Friends
  6. Sometimes It's Hard To Speak
  7. Islands
  8. April 24th
  9. Bummer Summer
  10. Blue Dream
Flashlights: Bummer Summer
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

67 / 100
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