In the four years since Flasher last released an album, the band have given themselves a lot more room to breathe. That can be taken literally, as members Taylor Mulitz and Emma Baker now live on opposite sides of the country—a distance that doesn’t seem to have hindered their creativity. But on a musical level, it’s even more striking. The band’s 2018 album Constant Image is defined by its energy, the members of Flasher—then a trio—moving with frenetic energy as if each song brought them to a boil. But that same energy also seemed to provide a gravitational pull to their orbital parts, their melodies, harmony and pulsing new wave rhythms all kept in equilibrium if only through the simple principle that they never slow down.
On its follow-up Love Is Yours, Flasher give themselves the luxury of slowing down. They spread out, open up, strut, stretch and even relax a little. The band’s ideas aren’t in shorter supply on Love Is Yours—in fact, there’s a greater diversity of sound and approach on the 13 songs here, if anything—but there’s less of a need to bear out any kind of urgency in a literal sense. On the breezy opener “I Saw You,” in fact, Baker makes a point of verifying that the point she’s making lands as intended: “Do I sound sincere? Do I make myself clear?“
In prior eras, the “mature” album long signified critic shorthand for slower, quieter albums, but Love Is Yours is mature in a the least backhanded sense. As great as Flasher were as a tightly wound unit, Mulitz and Baker find just as many thrills in allowing more space into their songs. The title track never escalates in volume beyond its relatively simple guitar-bass-drum machine pop jangle, but its chorus is one of the catchiest they’ve written, a masterclass in climax without explosion. And there’s even a playful touch of disco funk on the bright and bouncy “Sideways,” as Mulitz achieves epiphany while behind the steering wheel (“It’s all coming back to me/Speeding sideways“).
There are moments of existential panic on Love Is Yours, like in the climate-change laments of the shoegazey “Still Life”: “I’m on fire/You’re underwater/We’ve been ascending to chemical luxury.” But there’s a brightness and summery magnetism that makes everything here eminently replayable, and Mulitz even seems to agree. “I like to imagine people listening to it, driving around with the windows down in the summer,” he told me earlier this month. Which, come to think of it, felt true of their last record, too, only now, there’s no particular hurry to get anywhere—might as well enjoy the ride.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.