Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: Josh Flagg “Devastate Me”


We all love a Cinderella story, and Josh Flagg’s “Devastate Me” is the musical equivalent. Approaching songwriting like a prize fight, Flagg comes at you fast and furious but inside he’s doing it out of love for the sport. "I don't like the You-Me-Girl aspect to songwriting," Flagg says. "It's a little cloying. I wanted to take those same sentiments and subvert them. Take really cliché choruses, but have them, when you listen to the lyrics, turn out to be about zombies – or written from the perspective of a cancer cell. It's an interesting way to undermine the classic pop format. I mean, 'Bring Me Back To Life' is about a zombie looking for his girlfriend, more or less."

His songs are analogous to the cover art – sharp dressed and put together with style, but bearing a gritty interior that brings an enticing complexity to the composition. If you’re looking for comparisons, I would cite the Foo Fighters. The first half of the record is considerably stronger than the second half, with some knock outs like the fiery “Seeing Red”, which also has a bit of a Buffalo Tom vibe, the deliciously syncopated “Bring Me Back To Life”, and the chugging title track. The second half isn’t bad by any means, and features additional strong contenders like “Come Back To Me”, “Fair Is Foul” and the driving closer that will leave you wanting more, “Whatever Turns You On”.

“Devastate Me” is one of the more impressive debuts I’ve heard in some time and I am already waiting with eager anticipation to see how this artist matures on the follow-up. As Flagg says, “It's a fantastic contradiction: a breathtaking showdown that pits pop hooks against right hooks.”

Josh Flagg – Official site.

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