Album Generic Flipper
Available on CD, LP, iTunes, AmazonMP3, and eMusic
This is a band that has forever fascinated me – and not being able to get all of their records right away made them more fascinating and attractive, even though I was already a fan during the band’s original heyday; when I was in high school all I had of Flipper was their Blow’n Chunks ROIR tape and the “Get Away” single, and I wouldn’t find a copy of this album until a few years down the line. Another thing that fascinated me about the band was the fact that their music usually centered around the bass and drums, rather than the guitar. By that token alone, Bruce Loose and Will Shatter were amongst my first bass teachers by proxy.
Until Infinite Zero/American released the posthumous Sex Bomb Baby compilation on CD, Album Generic Flipper and Blow’n Chunks were the only long-playing evidence I had of one of my favorite bands for the longest time. I held out hope that American would reissue the rest of the back catalog, but it never happened and it wasn’t until a few years ago that all of Flipper’s albums returned to their rightful in-print status.
Most punk bands were fast and tight. Not Flipper. Not that they were ever a shambles in the studio – they sounded more of a shambles live as evidenced by Blow’n Chunks and Public Flipper Limited Live and still didn’t fall apart - but only one of the songs on Album Generic Flipper even came close to a fast tempo. Most of the tempos here are slow to medium speed, and two of the songs – coincidentally, the side closers “I Saw You Shine” and “Sex Bomb” are over nine minutes and seven minutes long respectively – but they don’t feel that way.
The bass lines are the most prominent component of the Flipper sound – distorted and menacing, they lead the way with Stephen DePace’s drums following right behind, snapping off great drum breaks every four to eight bars. He’s easily one of my favorite drummers period, not just in punk rock. And then there’s Ted Falconi’s guitar, filling in the blanks with an almost free-form wash of chords, slurs, sustain, and feedback.
Flipper lyrics can be either flippant (“Ever look at a flower and hate it? / Ever see a couple kissing and get sickened by it?” on album opener “Ever”), retrospective (pick any verse in “Shed No Tears”), abstract (“I Saw You Shine”), or yes, even uplifting (“Life”). And even after all of those shifting moods, how could one do anything other than laugh or smile after the album closer “Sex Bomb”? Exactly.
I’m glad all of the Flipper material is back in print and staying that way. Let this be your starting point if you haven’t dived in and swam with these fish yet.