Flannel Mouth, a four piece from Illinois, USA, released their debut Pull in Your Horns back in 2012 through SwitchBitch Records. They have an interesting crossover sound with a vocal that to me says “CBGB punk” and lyrics that have a country blues vibe; an overall tone that says “heavy” and great instrumental technical ability.
On first listen, all this crossing over confuses me a little, but the more I hear it the more sense it makes. I start to really enjoy the first track from the EP, ‘I’m a Sucker for Kay Commercials’, about halfway through. Towards the end, there’s a vocal section that I think really makes this track stand out.
In the second track ‘The Sinner’, I feel the genre has changed again; it has more of a post-hardcore/emo feeling and I find myself confused. Although I can’t doubt the skill of the instrumentalists, I’m starting to fear for that vocal; there really isn’t a lot of range and the tone isn’t anything special.
Just as I was beginning to think some sort of genre was forming ‘The .22’ changes and has a mild psychobilly impression. So, I’m four songs in and I cannot put this band into a category which for some is a great thing, but for me it ruins the continuity of the EP.
The final track ‘Sing For Us Tragic’ flows quite nicely from the previous track and seems to have picked up that post-hardcore/emo vibe again, then it changes halfway through! It’s back to that half-baked psychobilly. Nonetheless, it is a strong ending to an EP riddled with minor faults.
While I can by no means say I dislike this EP, and I can’t fault the technical abilities of three of the four members, I can’t say I love it either. While I really appreciate the music, I can’t get on board with the vocal; the range is too limited for my liking and there is not excitement in his voice. I am also not a fan of all the sound effects that have been used throughout, I feel it’s a bit cheesy.
Additionally, please pick a genre! The post-hardcore/emo vibe works so well, and for those few tracks I really enjoy this band. I just can’t bear the lack of flow and cohesion. While Flannel Mouth has made a clear attempt to be different and stand out, I just don’t feel anything for it. It is by no means bad, but it isn’t outstanding either.