OK, so if the Flats hype has passed you by, here’s a synopsis; they don’t like Paul Weller, Morrissey likes them, the singer’s old man was in Oasis or something. For some, the band are a vehicle of vaguely extreme music for those who can’t stomach the real thing, but it’s difficult to argue with the integrity of Better Living. Admittedly, the originality meter is about as low as the general narkiness meter is high, but no matter their motivation or credentials, there is a heartfelt malevolence of spirit about this full length that’s impossible to fake. Despite being heralded as UK punk saviours, opener Foxtrot revels in a doomy riff more akin to early Kyuss than Crass. This sluggish brutality is a frequent theme, punctuated with stabs of sparse, atonal, lo-fi hardcore which remains the band’s strongest suit, Shuffle’s thrashy, jolting rhythms probably the best two minutes of the record. On the other hand, for an album that’s seemed a while in coming, how something as ordinary asFrostbite made the cut is mystifying. But when all is said and done, this divisive group of lads have made the record they really wanted to make, and that is to be admired.
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Words: Geraint Davies