NICK FLESSA: FLYOVER STATES
Nick Flessa is heavily channeling his inner David Berman on Flyover States, and that’s great news for me because it’s been a decade since the Silver Jews released its final album and there’s been a vacuum ever since—an empty space waiting for a languidly monotone man of letters with deft turns of phrase and a complete command of straightforward country-influenced indie rock. It’s such an emotionally satisfying style, especially for those (like me) subject to a particularly American brand of melancholy. “Jane” nudges you into the album with its dour gorgeousness, before the rocking swagger of “Glendale” splashes cold water in your face with some evocative opening lines (“Won’t you bury me in Glendale / between the Pep Boys and the porno store?”). The rest of the album alternates stately Leonard Cohen-esque folk from a man resigned to the whims of fate with powerful, driving and occasionally shredding rockers. Every song here is bristling with wry, evocative wordplay, fearlessly straightforward but sophisticated and emotionally dense, too. The pacing is fantastic and prevents the tempo from getting too familiar. Backup vocalist Lucy LaForge offers a counterbalance to Flessa’s baritone, and the pedal steel (courtesy guitarist J.D. Carrera) tugs further at heartstrings already threatening to snap. This is music made for drinking beer alone at the bar on a warm evening, smirking about how damn ridiculous and unexpected the turns of one’s life can be. But it’s the hope that keeps you going. As Flessa sings: “There is mercy in this night / a backyard sanctuary…there is mercy, there is grace.”
NICK FLESSA’S FLYOVER STATES IS OUT NOW ON ELITERECORDS.