Two terms torque me off: "indie rock" and "supergroup." The internet is quite busy merging these terms and creaming its pink panties over Wild Flag's debut. With good reason, I suppose. After all, the band is made up of ladies one could describe as "cool aunts"—Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney as well as Helium's Mary Timony and The Minders' Rebecca Cole.
I really wanted to love this album, like read and re-read the liner notes under the covers with a flashlight love it. I tittered as the wicked bomp-bomp of guitars and the hey-hey of Brownstein's voice kicked off "Romance." Hooky circus keyboards. Slippery guitar leads. Energetic backing harmonies. A pretty, catchy chorus. "Romance" is how you introduce yourself. Too bad it's an "A+" track on a "C+" album. Since the gals are bona fide music nerds a "C+" is heartbreaking.
Guitars and drums drive the album and Timony's sulky voice is often submerged by them, like on "Electrical Band." Brownstein's vocal hiccups and guitar rocking don't always save the day. But the final track, "Black Tiles," reminds us that these chicks are super-talented rock musicians. The kind we might judge too harshly because of their pedigree.