I suppose that some will count we Brits as lucky for escaping a life in Trumps’ US of A but, in truth, every country in the world has its own self-serving self-righteous government who know what it is best for us even when their only real expertise is in filling in their own expenses claims. It was therefore with anticipation that I approached this EP as Old Flame – from Northampton, MA - purport to be a voice of musical protest in an anodyne world.
One man’s protest is often another woman’s oppression and these six songs are less of a universal soldier and more of a society’s child with the twin ghosts of alienation and atavism often creeping into the lyrics. Those subjects, on their own, would mark Old Flame out as a band of interest in these times of commercially sponsored revolution but that would overlook the musicianship that is always the true attraction to the believer in the power music. There is, for example, Sam Perry’s ever present guitar time travelling from psychedelic rambling to purposeful rock licks with a fluency that no computer will ever duplicate and Emma Ayres voice sugar coating this sonic coinfection with a Natalie Merchant goes country theatricality.
As such things go, “Hush Money” is more than you might reasonably expect of a band of today with clear evidence of deeper thoughts powering the music. This isn’t, nonetheless, protest in the conventional sense as Old Flame are more the kind of band to paint a picture than pull a trigger, but it is to their credit that they show no fear of complexity and can duly take the big steps needed to get their message across in their own unique way.
The songs of choice? “Hey Kid” and the gloriously melodramatic “Paris Accord 2017”.