Rating: 5/5Leaving Everything Behind is the debut album from Flood of Red, an up and coming six-piece band from Airdrie, Scotland. The album begins with a song entitled The Edge of the World (Prelude) which sees a quiet, careful opening interrupted by a thrashing transition to The Harmony, where the band’s hardcore roots fall more into focus. Flood of Red has hardcore and emo influences, with much of their earlier material featuring screaming and what you might call high-speed-double-bass-pedal-angst-tunes. It’s an entirely different sound, but nowadays, far from spilling into adolescent whines, tracks like Little Lovers and Like Elephants thrust the listener into a haze of distortion that echoes and splits and changes but always takes you somewhere you weren’t expecting.This is layered rock without going overboard. No epic Coldplay strings, no rousing choruses, no gang vocals. Rather the sentiments of the songs are expressed in swelling riffs and conjoined echoes so powerful that your speakers can hardly handle them and you can’t help but feel you’re committing a terrible injustice by not getting on your feet and head banging wildly.
The album opens and closes with The Edge of the World, which over the course of an album expands from a sullen whisper to a distorted roar. Maybe that’s Flood of Red in a nutshell. That such a normal, unremarkable bunch of guys can seduce your brain’s pleasure faculties with shimmering melody and seconds later blow your head clean off is remarkable. It’s something hard to pull off without sounding too keen to shock, but Flood of Red play with dynamics and textures on virtually every track while still sounding fresh.
And it works so well. I’m not trying to be cool by liking a band you probably don’t know. After all, I wrote at length about my near-nausea-inducing love for Lady Gaga last issue. No, Flood of Red is just brilliant despite being largely unheard of. You hear phrases like “stripped down” and “raw” to describe unsigned singer–songwriters as if their choice to not make the effort to form a band is something to be applauded, when it’s not really, is it? If I wanted to hear you snivel over your ex-girlfriend for three and a half minutes I’d spend the necessary £7 to get you rat-arsed on Tesco value vodka before I spent any more to hear a sizeable audience congratulate you for having a crushingly unoriginal life story.
So when it comes down to it, I say you probably haven’t heard of Flood of Red in the hopes that you will make time to. After all, this record is their first album release. The debut. And you don’t hear many debuts that sound this well-formed and - crucially - sound just as good live. Leaving Everything Behind has the sound of a record that has done everything it set out to, with a level of craft, talent and ingenuity that is liable to make any self-styled musician a little jealous. Why? Because these boys have already earned the type of success that matters the most, from putting their hearts into a stunning album. But commercial success is important as well, for good reason. Because more people need to hear it. Others need to experience it. So go buy this album!