Sunday, November 15, 2015

Flagship: “Faded” (2015) CD Review

Flagship is a fairly new band out of Charlotte, North Carolina, formed a few years ago by Drake Margolnick and Michael Finster. Their new EP, Faded, is a seriously good album with a dreamy pop sound that works on you immediately. On this release, the band’s third, Margolnick and Finster are joined by Leonardo Solis on bass and guitar, and Kellie Solis on backing vocals.

The CD opens with “Merry Us, Carry Us,” a tune which begins slowly, easing in, like a fog rolling in off the shore at dawn. The vocals are kind of mellow at first, but have a strength and a maturity that is noticeable from the first lines. A voice of some experience. The voice is really the driving force of the song. It pulls you in, and carries you along. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “Now I feel alive, I’ll never fall asleep/We’re going to build it up/Spark an open fire in the heart of man/We are serious/Keep me up all night/Break this heart of man.” And I really like these lines: “I’m your dawn’s red light/You’re my sleepless night.” The band recently released a video for this song, which has a strange, kind of haunting vibe. (I want the guy’s fur coat.) It was directed by Jared Hogan.

“Merry Us, Carry Us” is followed by “Not So Bad,” which also has an interesting intro, like some kind of twisted parade of traffic approaching, before the song takes on a good, catchy pop-rock groove like twenty seconds in. The groove gets me swaying in my apartment, but it’s the lyrics that I especially appreciate. “I’m missing you every day/That’s all there is.” And I believe him when he tells us “It’s not so bad.” And each time I listen to this song, these lines make me smile: “I wanted you to bake a cake/You never do.”

“Faded,” the CD’s title track, might be the best track here, boasting an excellent and moving vocal performance and some catchy work on guitar. And I love that the lines “I don’t know where I’m going/I don’t know where to go” are soon followed by “I think I find this funny/I think I’m going to take it slow.” Each of these songs has these great moments lyrically like that which give the album some depth, give it a true human quality.

“I Want You” was the first single released from this EP, and a video for it was released in June. The song has kind of an urgent feel, making the declaration of “I need you, I want you” feel a bit manic, a bit mad. Giving those familiar lines a different context, a different vibe. “Nothin’” then has a nice, relaxed pop groove, with lines like “I’m a self-deluded time bomb/Tired of not being myself/Trying to be someone else/Trying to find my way back home,” before building from there to an intense energy as the line “Nothin’ will ever be the same again” is repeated in the second half of the song. This one ended up being another of my favorites.

CD Track List
  1. Merry Us, Carry Us
  2. Not So Bad
  3. Faded
  4. I Want You
  5. Nothin’ 
Faded was released on July 10, 2015 on Bright Antenna Records.

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