It’s Always Sunny When You're Cool, the debut album from Washington, D.C.'s Flavor Waster, plays like the soundtrack to a square peg fitting perfectly into a round hole.
Hallucinated into existence by film composers – and former members of D.C. instrumental post‐hardcore trio Caverns – Kevin Hilliard (guitar/synths/percussion/programming) and Patrick Taylor (synths/piano/programming) during the breaks that punctuated a week of all‐night movie scoring sessions, Flavor Waster's music flies from the speakers as a restless mosaic of the duo’s past and present musical obsessions. The band, rounded out by vocalist Jodi Jones, drummer Martin MacAlister, and multi-instumentalist Ryan Burke effortlessly weaves the hyped, pulsating grooves of the reggaeton, soca, and calypso music often heard in Taylor’s familial home in Guyana and the d‐beats and breakdowns of the hardcore music Hilliard cut his teeth on, with a reverence for trashy synths and shoegazing vocals. Their diverse yet unified debut album “It’s Always Sunny...” finds vitality in unexpected juxtaposition and melodic contradiction.
“The music really came alive once Martin (MacAlister, drums/percussion/backing vocals) and Jodi (Jones, vocals) got involved,” Hilliard said. “Martin plays drums with a perfect blend of intensity and swing, while Jodi’s voice sounds like a hybrid of Hope Sandoval and Melanie Safka. It lends us an entirely unexpected emotional dimension.” Jones soulful, spectral vocals are cast against the backdrop of the band’s often bombastic instrumentals. This unexpected union radicalizes rather than tempers both Flavor Waster’s unrepentant heaviness and its melancholy melodicism.
That’s not to say the band fetishizes heaviness as its own reward. Flavor Waster seeks something more nuanced than providing a background score to a night of boozing and headbanging. When discussing the emergent experience of listening to “It’s Always Sunny...,” as Hilliard points out that, “To me, this album is fueled by the constant tension that arises from trying to impose order onto the chaos of everyday life. The songs explore a lot of different thoughts simultaneously, and the hope is that we’re eliciting multiple emotional responses within each listener.” Or, as Taylor puts it more bluntly, “We want to melt your face, shake your ass, break your heart, and haunt your dreams ... all at once.”
Indeed, it seems that the thread running through all things Flavor Waster is learning to accept – and to musically reproduce in their own quirky style – the many complexities and contradictions of existence as a sentient being. “That’s why the album is called ‘It’s Always Sunny When You’re Cool,’” Taylor said. “No one is cool to everyone, so ‘feeling cool’ is both a self‐perception and a self‐deception. This album condemns but also celebrates all of the things we tell ourselves to get through the day. Or, you know, some bullshit like that.”
“It’s Always Sunny When You’re Cool” will be released on November 20, 2015 through School of Resentment Recordings. The band will be touring extensively in support of the album Winter 2015‐Spring 2016.