Union 2112 Records
?What do you do when doing what you love gets you nowhere?? asks the opening track on The Great Awake, the second full-length from these Toronto-based punks. The question, delivered with all the gravel-voiced ferocity of a hardened, worn-down clock puncher, betrays the success which has found the endlessly-touring quartet since the release of 2005's Destroy to Create (Stomp Records/Warner). Far from getting them nowhere, the Flatliners' five years of passionate melding of raging punk rock, aggressive ska, and balls-out rock 'n' roll has taken them across nine provinces, twenty-eight states, and two Warped Tours. They've shared stages with the likes of Bad Religion, the Loved Ones, Anti-Flag, No Use For A Name, and the Suicide Machines, and with a new American home on Fat Wreck Chords, they're just getting started.
The Great Awake is a shockingly mature record for a band who's oldest member tops out at twenty years old. Embracing the darkest aspects of their sound, the Flatliners have crafted a record that, without abandoning their ska-punk roots, sounds a lot more like mid-90s Gainesville than late 90s Orange County. Songs like "You Guys Want One Of These?" and "Hal Johnson Smokes Cigarettes" offer some of the records catchiest melodies, all swathed in heavy levels of distortion and gritty vocal delivery. "This Respirator" marks the bands's ska-reggae high-water mark, perfecting the lilting melodies and syncopated rhythms that most of their peers fail at replicating. Then there's the album-closer, "KHTDR"; seven minutes of epic punk-ska whose sonic evolution, moving from genre to genre, almost seems to parallel that of the band, whose own sound has moved into
substantially more mature waters as they continue to define what,
exactly, is the Flatliners sound.
Out of school and hitting the road full-time, the Flatliners are truly
doing what they love. Drawing as much on the ska-punk bounce of
Operation Ivy as the raw rock 'n' roll of Leatherface, The Great Awake
is guaranteed to find a home in hearts of any fan of fiery, sincere,
and unforgiving punk rock.