Written by Maria Arroyo
The favorite Chicago band, The Flat Five, shares their sophomore album, Another World, out today via Pravda Records/ Augiedisc Records. The Flat Five Chicago stars include Scott Ligon, Kelly Hogan, Nora O’Connor (known for her stellar harmonies and thirst for playing new instruments), Casey McDonough (AKA the “Swiss Army Knife” of the group), and drummer, Alex “Ace” Hall, who recorded and engineered the album, all who contribute to their sunshine pop sound.
Another World is definitely a team effort: since a lot of the process is done as an all hands-on deck project. They also had some help from engineer Mark Greenberg, and the new songs of this record are all written by Scott Ligon’s older brother, Chris Ligon, described as a mad musical genius.
The opening track, “Drip A Drop,” starts off the record with a bouncy and almost old retro vibe to it that hits listeners in the face. Being described as hardcore coal buzz junkies, it’s no surprise that a lot of the record highlights the interesting harmonies and vocal moments that they bring to life.
“Look at the Birdy” is just one of the tracks they recorded that had a very animated feel to it, but that puts a smile on your face as it plays. There’s a scat-like spoken style that the singer emulates, similar to that of Jazz music. I loved the laid back energy they create that just transports you back to the Jazz Age itself.
“I Don’t Even Care” is a short track that really highlights the blending of the vocals a lot better than the previous songs, while “The Great State of Texas” is reminiscent of a lullaby-like melody that feels homey and familiar. The latter in particular has a gentler feel to it that isn’t as prominent in the other songs.
Bringing a little bit of bite to Another World is “This’ll Be The Day” that gives off massive Beach Boy vibes. The harmonies fill out the recording and are a nice little bop for the album.
Another small favorite of the record is “Butterflies Don’t Bite” since it adds very infectious energy to the table. “Oh What a Day” brings a more nostalgic feel to the album that makes it even easier to connect to.
Their next track, “The World Missed Out,” has a great rhythmic feel to it, with a little glimpse into a more intimate sound. The vocals are especially memorable, making it another highlight of the album. Their closing track “Over and Out” brings back their love for the Jazz greats with a great horn section and a fun and easy jam instrumental fade out.
Their homage to the greats before all of us is very touching, but sometimes it made it feel like it was more of a cover album than an original one. There were times that certain songs meshed a little too well with one another, making it hard to really distinguish them from one another. Nonetheless, the album’s energy and inspiration came through, which I really admire. The Flat Five Chicago said they wanted to create an album with some “lift, buoyancy, and a little bit of hope. Things we need now more than ever,” which couldn’t be more true.
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