The quality of this Pacific Northwest supergroup’s rock-roaring debut isn’t a surprise – after all, Carrie Brownstein elevated Sleater-Kinney’s garagey alt-rock to legendary status with her quicksilver lead guitar and hiccupping Patti Smith-inspired vocals, and Janet Weiss has consistently been one of the greatest drummers of the last two decades in Quasi, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks and Sleater-Kinney (not to mention indie icon and kick-ass guitarist Mary Timony and keyboardist Rebecca Cole of The Minders). No, what’s a shock is how damn fun ‘Wild Flag’ is. The quartet sound like they’re teenagers playing in a suburban garage, stumbling upon dumb indie gems (‘Boom’, ‘Romance’), expansive prog jams (‘Glass Tambourine’), bubblegummy girl-pop (‘Endless Talk’) and Breeders-esque stompers (‘Black Tiles’) by accident. ‘Wild Flag’ is a stunning, wide-ranging and electrifying debut from a group of musicians whose pedigree suggests they really shouldn’t be having this much fun after so many years.

By Tom Pinnock

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