Flasher flaunt their many layers with garage-rock rawness in London

Get this D.C. band to a big festival stage – stat

Washington D.C. duo Flasher are something of a post-punk chameleon. Shapeshifting and variation should come naturally to the genre, but it’s hard to deny that for too long now it’s felt homogenous with baggy suits, angular twang and gloomy sprechgesang (or shoutgesang!).

Flasher’s self-titled 2016 EP, when the band were a trio, dipped into these tropes but was looser around the edges, like a slacker’s take on Joy Division. Constant Image, their debut album two years later, felt open to far more ideas and the result was all the better for it. Taking this one step further, when guitarist Taylor Mulitz and drummer Emma Baker continued as a duo for 2022’s Love Is Yours, it felt like the space left by bassist Daniel Saperstein let in a gust of fresh thinking that decluttered any of the rules they might have once set themselves in the early days, replacing them with, well, anything that just sounded good.

Flasher’s set in east London’s Sebright Arms reflects this arc, not least now that they’re armed with their melodic and subtly layered new EP Eastern Ave. But first it’s a helping of bittersweet grunge with opener ‘I Saw You’; it’s handy their touring bassist is a nifty player as the sound fills the room’s cavernous acoustics a touch overwhelmingly at first. Another touring member hits drum pads, swings a tambourine and picks up whatever instrument to add the depth, texture and morsels of electronica that Flasher have progressively decorated their sound with over time. New track ‘Adrienne’ sounds especially all the better for it, with its staccato shards and shimmering oscillations.

Indie-dance bop ‘Sideways’ sounds glorious and suitably off-kilter with its mix of clean-picked guitars and droney long notes. Likewise, the trailing drum echos on ‘Eastern Ave’ layer percussively to give Baker’s spotlit vocals a brighter glow.

Photos by Virginie Viche

But for all their colourful inflections, Flasher are at their best when giving it some on their rollicking garage rock moments, which begin to pick up mid-set with the almost Brit-pop banger ‘I’m Better’ and reach a climax on the motorik ‘Pressure’ and exhilarating ‘Skim Milk’.

In fact, for however much the close quarters of The Sebright amp up the garage-rock feel, this is music that deserves to be blasted on a festival main stage at golden hour.