Flight Mode - TX, ’98 Music Album Reviews

Flight Mode - TX, ’98 Music Album Reviews
The debut EP from this reverential emo band is full of nostalgia, wonder, and autobiographical detail, like a Linklater film soundtracked by Deep Elm Records.

Just about every genre that prides itself on rapid evolution will still find room for nostalgists: the electronic producer dialing up the drum machines that soundtracked their first E pill kicking in, rappers like Kendrick Lamar and Tyler, the Creator roping in Kid Capri and DJ Drama as mixtape simulacra, brazen pop songs jacking the previous decade’s beats like they’re already public domain. It’s a tougher proposition within emo’s concept of perpetual youth; by the time most artists get enough distance for a clear-eyed look at their formative years, they’ve moved onto something else. The third-wave revivalism of Flight Mode’s debut EP, TX, ’98, feels at once instantly familiar and like a total anomaly. Here’s a couple of guys pushing 40, setting aside their tasteful indie-pop projects to revisit the music that set their entire lives in motion, capturing not just a sense of place and time, but “that specific guitar tuning, those specific bands.” For exactly 16 minutes, Sjur Lyseid’s memories of being 16 in the Houston suburbs burst with wistful joy: a Linklater short film soundtracked by Deep Elm Records.

From the opening “Sixteen,” Lyseid shows a subtle but crucial commitment to the bit, writing entirely in the present tense for the guy wearing the Op Ivy T-shirt in the group’s press photo. Back then, Lyseid was drawn to bands that were not much older than himself, and whether it was local heroes like Ultramagg and Mineral or the future Midwestern canon of Four Minute Mile, Frame and Canvas, The End of the Ring Wars, and Nothing Feels Good, these artists were veritable soothsayers for introverted punk teens, showing a future beyond the college towns and suburban basement scenes that birthed them. The existential reckoning of “I don’t know anything, I don’t go to college anymore” could sound damn near aspirational.

The same fresh-faced, almost androgynous vocal tone that suited his florid indie-pop project the Little Hands of Asphalt allows Lyseid to embody his younger self naturally. Without resorting to melodrama, Flight Mode capture a sense of wonderment at these momentous and mundane scenes: the experience of watching Appleseed Cast play a basement show, the wisdom that can only be expressed through a dubbed Maxell mixtape, the nights that turned into mornings at IHOP, and the first real sense of how distance can affect relationships. In “Animals,” Lyseid sings from the perspective of a devastated teen watching a friend take off from the airport, experiencing the concept of “transatlanticism” years before it was coined.

The ebullient emo-pop of TX, ’98’s A-side guides Lyseid through the unnerving euphoria of a new world opening up for him. Seemingly on a lark, he left Norway to spend a year in the Woodlands as a foreign exchange student. (He allows himself a bit of poetic license on the brilliant “Fossil Fuel,” attributing the oil-based optimism and pervasive scent of polyester to Dallas, simply because it fit the melody better.) While listeners have taken note of the accuracy of Flight Mode’s guitar tones and rumpled production, it is possible that they wouldn’t actually have been peers with their nervier, more agitated heroes on sound alone. The jangle and cascading countermelodies of “Fossil Fuel” and “Sixteen” are reflective of the members’ collective decades in Norway’s overlapping scenes of twee, indie pop, and expansive post-emo; guitarist Anders Blom is an alumni of Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson, a sorely underappreciated revival-era act who engaged in their own form of foreign exchange by releasing an EP on the seminal Count Your Lucky Stars label in 2012.

Even if Flight Mode can’t retrofit post-hardcore roots into TX, ’98, they bypassed their 21st-century chops and studio perfectionism by recording the songs after just a few run-throughs. It was intended to replicate the atmosphere of an unearthed Deep Elm tape, but the pre-distressed sound can only be traced back as far as 2017; the trio recorded it over a weekend and sat on it for four years, perhaps until it developed a secondary patina of nostalgia. The plug-and-play approach best serves side B, where Flight Mode sound more like a slowcore band that can’t help itself from stumbling into soaring melodies; the closing “Go” can only sustain its trudge for so long, ramping up on palm-muted power chords to a harmonized hook that could have blown the entire EP wide open had it lasted more than a split second. It’s a fitting and frustrating way to end, as there’s no indication that Flight Mode have a vision for themselves beyond TX, ’98. “If I remember anything, it’s not to trust my memory,” Lyseid stated, and this is why it ends where it does: Had Flight Mode plumbed any deeper, the whole thing might have fallen apart. Instead, Lyseid’s Emo Diaries can remain forever pristine.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Flight Mode - TX, ’98 Music Album Reviews Flight Mode - TX, ’98 Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on July 26, 2021 Rating: 5


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