Listen Up: Wednesday, December 5, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Flickerstick

Causing a Catastrophe (226 Records)

By Ken Shimamoto

Live albums are like best-of compilations, usually the contract-fulfilling swan song to a major label affiliation. Except Flickerstick didn’t go that far — just one c.d., the radio-ready Welcoming Home the Astronauts, released before they were dropped in the latest round of “right-sizing” at Sony Music late last year. You can’t really blame these guys for wanting to re-record a bunch of those songs here — gives ’em merch to hawk at shows, not to mention ownership of these songs.

See, they’re back on the same label that originally released Astronauts before Epic picked it up and retooled it, and they’ve got this new live slab, recorded at Deep Ellum Live, before what sounds like a large and enthusiastic crowd. It’s remarkably well-recorded, and the band sounds as tight as the pros you know they are. Musically, this falls somewhere between Stone Temple Pilots and Radiohead. If you’re not already a fan but enjoy modern rock with moderate tempos and a fair degree of drama, you can’t go wrong here. Brandin Lea is a rock singer and a half — think Bono sans the sanctimony or Steve Perry minus the big hair.

If you already own Astronauts, you might still want this for the three new songs: the opening “Direct Line,” which the boys like so much that they do it twice (and shame on the timid soul who turned down the faders on the instrumental meltdown at the end), “Believe,” and a Mazzy Star cover (“Fade Into You”). For my money, though, the best things here are “Chloroform the One You Love” and “Execution by X-Mas Lights.” Have fun singing along, but don’t listen too hard to those lyrics, or you might start wondering about yourself.


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