Love Hard is New York City’s Flagland’s first album release since summer 2012’s Tireda Fightin’ and is double the length of it at that. Describing themselves as ‘panic rock for the panicked’, the trio have put forth a mammoth record of just that and more.

Opening track ‘SUPERLOVE’ is completely at odds with follow up track ‘Searchers’, the former being a wheedling acoustic track declaring “finally I know what love is” whereas the latter begins with straight up screaming, crashing drums and a high pitched needle of sound. These very first tastes of the record instantaneously set off what the listener is in for in terms of Flagland’s aesthetics and exactly what they’re about.

Songs such as ‘Waste of Paper’ and ‘Straight White Male’ show that the band can perfectly execute a song to catch your attention quickly and enthusiastically in an approximate 30 seconds. These tracks are fierce, fast and unforgivable in their intensity of pushing everything you would expect in the standard 3 minutes into a fraction of the time.

The self-described ‘panic rock’ genre really comes across in songs like ‘shitsucksrightnow’, where being short and rushed does not feel unnatural, but is timed and placed well amongst slower parts of the song and quickly builds up to riffs that are just a touch faster, drums that are a blink sped up. A bonus of these tracks, of course, is a longing for the next song after being filled with the same panicky atmosphere blazed throughout the track.

‘Greed’ is a standalone track on the record. Mixing their own well established sound with a bluesy appeal, the song is dark and brooding with slurred lyrics, a real callback to times of speakeasys and thick plumes of cigarette smoke drifting through the air. A heady atmosphere is so effortlessly created and leaves you floating in it before cymbals come crashing in and so quickly destroys that mindset and the whole thing is just, for lack of a better word, sexy.

Flagland have mastered the tracks that begins oh so delicate, which then turns into a really destructive behemoth of a song. Amongst that, they so easily flow in and out of other genres and techniques in their music, really not afraid to be put in a box or stray outside their comfort zone. It’s almost shocking to see this level of talent is almost unheard of, with less than 500 likes currently on their Facebook group. Here’s hoping it’s the year to Love Hard.

3.5/5

Love Hard is released through Father/Daughter records on February 25th.