Anticodon Records (label)
18 March 2016 (released)
27 May 2016
The trend to collaborate via the internet is growing by the year. Technological advances make it easier and easier to work with fellow artists over vast distances. Flaunt is the joint venture of Justin Jennings and Joseph Vitterito. With one living in Colorado and the other set up in Maine, the two connected over social media and found common ground in their distant but similar surroundings. After receiving accolades for their mostly instrumental, turntable record CODON, Flaunt have released their follow-up Rave Noir. The album has a stronger focus on vocal/guitar based rock with a few electronic beeps and whirs kept in for good measure. The duo has crafted the album with visuals in mind and has teamed up with Cinematik (Johan Cederholm and Mikael Berglund) to deliver a whopping 13 accompanying videos for the album.
Two-part harmonies dance in a sparse digital dreamscape on the record's opener, 'Rave On'. Heavy reverb piano provides moments of contemplation between the catchy verses. The accompanying video has the simple but effective concept of a man dreaming of a tropical vacation so he bundles up and hits the snowy local beach to live it up, echoing the tracks lyrics: “The grass ain't always greener/The smoke don't always clear/You are not always in charge but you rave on/Rave on”. The track makes for a strong start but after that, the creativity seems to dip.
'I Don't Wanna Fall Asleep' ditches the electronics and Flaunt slips in to a decidedly more mainstream Pop-Alt-Rock sound. 'Restraint' offers some neat arrhythmic guitar samples and glitches to keep things interesting. The lyrics are generally straightforward, a little too simple to be poetic. I found myself, stopping the stream and just playing the videos to give the songs more dimension.
'I Haven't Thought About You Yet' begins with a wistful acoustic intro that sinks in to a swampy, bluesy lament. 'Last 9 Words' has a little more snarl. A Black Swan, slo-mo dancing video meshes well with lofty, echoing vocals. This is a definite stand-out track. 'This Is What Happens When You Let Me Down' also has that snarl with a slick beat behind it.
Rave Noir is full of tight, well-produced tracks. The songs are well crafted and there are a lot of catchy moments but the record is full of safe choices. Full disclosure, I personally don't tend to listen to a lot of mainstream rock. To me, the album could be condensed in to a tight ten track album with the less inventive rockers weeded out in favour of more interesting tracks like the album's opener and 'This Is What Happens When You Ket Me Down' in order to give them a more distinctive sound.