Olympia’s Sleater-Kinney had always been a band that I liked, but kind of had a hard time really getting into. I guess I just always found myself hoping they had more songs like One Beat’s “Oh!”, which is considerably more, well fun, than their more overtly political and feminist material. So it’s nice that an album like Wild Flag’s debut exists, since it basically sounds like that song spread out over 40 minutes of hooky guitar-driven girl rock.
Now the reason I bring up Sleater-Kinney is pretty obvious, since Wild Flag is made up of Sleater-Kinney’s guitarist/singer (and Portlandia co-star) Carrie Brownstein and drummer Janet Weiss, as well as members of the bands Helium and The Minders. So yeah, Wild Flag is more or a less an “indie supergroup”, but unlike something like Monsters Of Folk, the band’s sound is a bit more cohesive. This is probably due to the fact that Brownstein obviously serves as the band’s guiding force, as her blistering guitar and vocals are really what drive the band’s sound. Still, keyboardist Rebecca Cole adds a nice texture that wasn’t there in Sleater-Kinney, while Janet Weiss’s thunderous drumming proves once again that she can pretty much make any band sound huge.
For the most part the songs exude a more poppy approach to punk rock, often wavering between jaunty singalongs and more foreboding material. And since they are after all a supergroup, Wild Flag does occasionaly delve into classic rock histrionics on the somewhat psychedelic “Glass Tambourine” and the sprawling “Race Horse”. But for the most part, this is just a refreshingly energetic little rock album in a year that maybe could’ve used a few more albums like this.
Favorite Tracks: “Romance”, “Electric Band”, “Racehorse”