The Flatliners – Inviting Light (Rise Records)

Genre – Punk

After 15 years in the punk rock game, The Flatliners have not strayed from their original teenage line up – a true testament to perseverance and togetherness.

Inviting Light is their sixth studio album, their first with Rise Records, and despite outgrowing the youthful exuberance of their 2002 appearance, their anthemic style hasn’t wavered.

This year The Flatliners hit the road as support for The Menzingers, a band that their career has seemingly become entangled with over the last ten years. 2017 has seen both acts release new albums, with The Menzingers kicking on and elevating their status; ensuring they are rightly regarding as one of the best punk acts on the planet.

It’s therein that lies the problem with The Flatliners unwavering anthemic style – it hasn’t changed in 15 years. Inviting Light is arguably the band’s finest piece of work since the defining Cavalcade album in 2010, but it’s similarity to their previous work and that of other established punk artists makes you question the direction they’re heading in.

This may seem like a high critical, negative commentary of a band that has given punk rock so many great tunes over the years, but this is a classic case of their previous work working against them. If you picked up this album, having never heard anything they have previously released, you’re likely to be blown away, because this is a very good album, it’s just not the next level stuff that was expected from the Canadians.

Tracks like Mammals, Hang My Head and Human Party Tracks are too typical of The Flatliners’ classic sound, despite the brilliant Adam Carroll-esque (Good Friend) roar in Hanging My Head.

Although they have played it safe on numerous occasions on this release, there are a few instances when they experiment and it pays off. This is most prevalent in Unconditional Love, which has that deep, slow sound of Graham Coxen’s guitar in Blur’s 1999 hit Tender. Vocally, Chris Creswell delivers a genuine master class performance here, with effortless changes of pitch and stark switches between a slow Eddie Vedder style yarl and raucous growls.

This promise is further established by Burn Out Again and Chameleon Skin, which see them add new elements to their sound. In truth, this is a very strong piece of work from The Flatliners, but it just hasn’t propelled them as far forward as fans would have hoped.

RUSHONROCK RATED – 7/10 Close, but no cigar!