Natural Disaster

Flavian

Independent release, 2012

http://www.flaviangame.bandcamp.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 04/26/2013

A debut album three years in the making, Natural Disaster marks the first appearance of Washington, D.C.-based quartet Flavian. The music is fairly standard alternative rock with a hint of neo-progressive sounds thrown in; hints of latter-day Rush, Pearl Jam, Porcupine Tree, and even 311 blend together to create the sound, which is expertly produced by electric guitarist Ilia Kobrinsky.

"Goodman Brown" is available on the band's Web site for a listen; the piece features acoustic guitar picking and a voiceover from the distance over some atmospherics before the sparse electric guitar and off-kilter rhythm section come in, working alongside Andrei Teodosescu's vocals. The chug-chug of the bass and drums stop every couple of bars, creating a feeling of unease, while Andrei's singing is at turns cynical and knowing about the titular character: "Dream of the world so pure / Dream of the perfect cure / Dreamers today, heroes tomorrow / And yet his faith endures ... Temptation is your faithful friend." It's quite a piece of music that, in its five minutes, can stand alongside any other current neo-prog band you'd care to name.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

One never thinks of ska-rock-rap band 311 as being an influence, but Andrei's singing channels Nick Hexum on "Acid Rain" just as much as the surf-rock guitars of "Cold Love" do, albeit with a little more attitude and seriousness. The latter song is no-bullshit Euro-rock concerning the search for a real relationship over a string of one-night stands that leave one cold in the morning, and it – like the rest of this disc – grows on the listener with repeated listens.

The chiming acoustics of "Angels Cry" mesh well with the angsty power chords and minor key melodies; Greg Shaeffer's random drum fills get annoying, but the song has a bit of an Oasis feel and is well worth hearing. "Heartbeat," "Maryam" and "Gypsy On A Train" are little more than filler, sounding pretty similar to the rest of the music and never really distinguishing themselves, but the closing "Bye Bye" is a fascinating mix of surf rock, Green Day attitude and a bit of gypsy music.

Teodosescu has a tendency to under-sing at times, sounding like he isn't really invested in his own lyrics, many of which concern the need to actively search for truth and happiness. The tendency of the songs to sound samey after a while means about half of this is truly worthwhile, but as all of the songs are on the band's Web site, if you like the highlights mentioned above you are encouraged to listen to the rest. Not a bad result for an album three years in the making.

Rating: B-

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