EP Review: Flight to Dubai – Strife

Firefighter Lady press photos Feb 2020

It seems to me that Sydney’s Flight To Dubai walk that fine line between utter genius and compete madness. There is a hint of approaching chaos – an apprehension that everything is going to completely collapse into a swamp of anarchy – a sense of anticipation that adds to the heady journey that is their new EP ‘Strife’.

I am reminded a little of the legendary Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – a sense of the unexpected – unbridled and explosive.

Flight to Dubai epitomise the much over-used term garage rock but they are a little more complex than that – there is a dirty, gritty element for sure but there is also a sense of storytelling and theatricality.

And deep inside the bluster and swagger, there is an inherent self-deprecatory sense of dark humour with a tongue very firmly placed in cheek.

The EP sets out with a gasoline-fueled blast – ‘Firefighter Lady’ – with singer Atlas Abell and his unhinged preacher voice, excoriating, urging with a Jim Morrison thunder and a Jim Jones sense of danger. There is a strangely and antithetically sweet video that is quite romantic and delightful:

‘Crycentennial Man’ is a rollicking roller coaster of a track: a thundering rhythm section provides some stability to Abell’s 50’s rockabilly vocals, and a video that captures the band’s anarchic sense of humour:

In tracks like ‘Sparse Space’, the bridle is placed back on the nose but it doesn’t feel firmly placed – this is a more restrained, reflective track with deeply Elvis-like vocals – deep and sonorous with that little quiver Las Vegas-style. The video is a continuance on the themes from ‘Firefighter Lady’:

‘Hot, Hot, Hot’ is just over a minute of smashing guitars and hectoring with dark humour. ‘Failure’ is expository story-telling with a southern accent and a Nick Cave darkness: there is a visceral rawness that is utterly cathartic and thoroughly enjoyable. 'Chest’ follows on with a gritty, dirty blast. Unadorned, raw guitars feature: they provide the bedrock to Abell’s thunderous vocals and range from blues riffs to demented solos (listen to ‘Cement’)

Swampy, bluesy, unrestrained and diabolically unhinged. What more could you desire from an unashamedly, stripped down and raw rock’n’roll album with a sense of humour? Out now through the band’s own label, Hail Damage Records, you can get ‘Strife’ through the link below.

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