THE AMERICAN DUO OF Justin Jennings and Joseph Vitterito collided riding the social media gauntlet, quickly delivering their debut album CODON as Flaunt in 2014. They describe the follow-up, Rave Noir, as an attempt to be reminiscent of what radio used to sound like pre becoming multi-format. That is you might’ve heard hard rock followed by schmaltzy pop followed by funk etc.
To achieve musical eclecticism is a difficult task and carries with it precedents like the Todd Rundgren and Frank Zappa repertoires that cast a daunting shadow indeed. Flaunt certainly give it a good stab and their goal is successful to an extent. Funnily enough, what we get is a pretty cohesive collection with only a couple of tracks that really stick out as being quite different from the one before, like the ‘60s-influenced ‘You Sure Know How To Hurt Someone’.
Mostly the music is a fairly conventional blend of rock drums, bass and guitar alternating with synthesizer and programmed drum patterns, sometimes within the same song. String section samples interrupt parts of ‘This Is What Happens When You Let Me Down’ to create an interesting contrast but the singular (and very accomplished) lead vocals of the entire Rave Noir only serve to help meld the material together and therefore fight against the desired goal. As a result, Flaunt have arrived at their sound, rendering any real moments of musical difference as more the exception than the rule and surplus to requirements. This amounts to an overly-long program that would’ve been strengthened by some fat-trimming or at least track re-sequencing to bring forward some of the landmarks to punctuate proceedings and hold interest earlier in the piece.
So a tighter structure and a few more hooks around the place would’ve further complimented what are finely-wrought musical performances rendered with a pleasing sonic sheen that is not overly brick-walled. So Flaunt’s second album is very listenable and speaker-friendly, but it frustratingly stops just short of the big wow. PETER KEARNS
Music = 3/5