Here we have, Dead Language (2013), the latest full length from Canada’s melodic-punk torch-bearers, The Flatliners. For a record as fantastic as I find it to be, I think it is criminal that this album hasn’t seen a proper review on this site before today. With that said, it is my pleasure to try to do it justice.

For those unfamiliar… The Flatliners, at their bare-bones, are a punk band. Punk bands are a dime-a-dozen these days… but it is in the other eclectic layers surrounding the punk foundation that make them special. Starting out as primarily a ska/punk outfit, this band has seen their career take a great many twists and turns over the course of their career. Building on that foundation of punk and taking elements of their earlier light-hearted sound, they have melded it with elements of indie rock and Americana to create something that is undeniably catchy. The telltale traits of a modern punk band are all there… loud guitars, melodic and playful leads, introspective lyrics and a power rhythm section… but it really so much more than that.

The vocal performance of singer/guitarist Chris Cresswell on Dead Language is really what truly sets this record apart from the rest of the pack. There is a haunted soul, howling on this album and his lyrics truly are a window into his soul. I find it to be rare that you find this level of poeticism and honesty in the realm of punk rock (two other bands that really shine in this regard are Hot Water Music and Samiam). There are more than a few times that I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up from the words that this man sang.

The only downside of this release is the running time. For me, I think “the more, the better”… but at about 40 minutes it may be a bit too long to hold the attention of the average punk fan.

The bottom line is that in the years to come, The Flatliners Dead Language could very well be a regarded as a defining punk rock record of this generation. The flaws are few and far between and there is a genuine honesty and soul in this recording. Do yourself a favor and get this record as soon as possible.

Make sure you also check out their record Cavalcade (2010).