Sometimes the RIYL doesn’t lie. When Vancouver punks Flagpolers list Tiltwheel as an influence, it comes across clearly on the four song EP Arse Ways. The songs are built in that Davey Tiltwheel guitar style and then the lyrics are pelted atop in a gruff and staggering delivery. It’s rough hewn, coarse, and alternately beautiful—a fitting tribute to the aforementioned band. It varies, though, with a greater use of back vocals that are mixed up front, meaning that the choruses have a bit more punch that pulls away from the frontman angle and gives a strong “band” feel. The guitar is really the story here, as it winds, pulls, and builds the energy without succumbing to power chords and big hooks, instead weaving its way around the song.
Things get a little less Tiltwheel after the opener, “Sure This Is It, Though Isn’t It.” “Angie Big Ones” is a more forward-driving song with a big drum beat and call and response dual vocals, with the refrains sounding a bit croaked, a la Rancid’s Matt Freeman quality. The song is more caffeinated and angry, while the opener was introspective and explorative.
The final two tracks fall in between in style, but closer to the first, with closer “Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear” bringing some Jawbreaker to mind as well. “Sketch the Barber” has a dark bassline that permeates, and brings the seriousness to a peak.
Flagpolers are paced punk, working on a story and a punchline instead of a cathartic fist pump. I don’t know much more than I’ve already told you about this 4-piece, but I like what I hear. It’s easy to pick out the influences, but they’re good ones.
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