Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Flex - From the Vacuum (1985)

With it's rather obnoxious and LOUD, flared-out lettering adorning the sleeve, you might venture a guess that The Flex were a cabal of marauding metalheads or colorful skate punks.  The reality, in fact, is this (presumably) Chicago-native trio fall relatively in line with what I typically present you with on this humble site. From the Vacuum kicks off with the smart, incisive "China Dolls" flirting with post-punk undertones but ultimately revealing considerably more in common with contemporaries Wire Train and Translator. "New Wavelength" busts out the bands aptitude for jangly power pop, and what a glorious specimen this tune turns out to be. "What in the World?" indulges in biting, punky chords, and they circle their wagon back onto the pop trail for the winsome "Art Babies."  

By the time The Flex hit side two of this platter it's clear they have a bit of an identity crisis on their hands, with a haphazard melange of songs that run the gamut from the sloppy and unwieldy "Drunken Aerobics" to the dynamic, sax-enhanced "Tropikkana." Despite some occasional inconsistencies ...Vacuum is rewarding if not necessarily revelatory. 

01. China Dolls
02. New Wavelength
03. 20 Minutes Late for Cocktails
04. What in the World?
05. #16 to Rambach
06. Art Babies
07. Dschungle World
08. Draw A. Blank
09. Drunken Aerobics
10. Lovely Day
11. Sleeping Boys
12. Acceleration
13. Tropikanna


EricC said...

Another one of those sounds that you heard in every music scene in the middle 80s. This is a really good example of it. I'm kind of amazed I didn't run into them, I moved to Chicago the year this came out. Good stuff, going to listen to this one a lot.

D said...

the more obscure, the better, thanks for this

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