Flatcat & Five Days Off - Split CD

8 songs
21:58 minutes
***** ****
Funtime & Eye Spy

Bandpage (Flatcat)

Bandpage (Five Days Off)

Belgian music is a lot like Belgian soccer: it may come from one of the smaller countries, but it has more punch than you would expect! After quietly revolutionising indie pop during the last decade, Belgium seems to have discovered its affinities for melodic punk music.

On this split-CD, a collaboration between Funtime Records and Eye Spy Records, two of Belgium's most renowned bands offer four songs each. Flatcat start the album immediately with a totally convincing distillation of what modern punk rock is all about. Feeling at ease in the middle between Green Day and Bad Religion (just check out the backing vocals), with an occasional lyrical nod at Nirvana (We're here to entertain you), Hear Tonight is one of the more refreshing punk songs I have heard in a long time, meaning: if you can't reinvent the genre, then have a slightly ironic approach. Although Flatcat sometimes also play faster, their sound is always very polished, especially the vocals that seem to have been treated ever so slightly to make them even cleaner. The backing vocals are provided by the singer from Janez Detd. If punk means to you anarchy, Discharge and Exploited, then Flatcat are nothing but wimps to you, but if punk is something more malleable to you, something that can have many different faces, then you might enjoy Flatcat's professional attitude, and it wouldn't be such a big surprise to see them on one of the bigger labels (Fat Wreck, Epitaph or Victory) in the near future.

Five Days Off have a hard task from here on, and it needs to be said that they can't reach the level of Flatcat, although they are also a very convincing band. The production has less punch here, but the energetic songwriting makes up for that. 5DO are less polished, and where Flatcat's punk tends to be somewhat pop, their music is definitely rock! The backing vocals have more street appeal, but still emphasise the band's toying with American punk.

The split-CD is kind of short, with both bands providing eleven minutes, but as a snapshot of high quality punk rock, it must be recommended to everyone into that kind of music. You will be surprised at how small Belgium excels at the important things in life: soccer, punk and French fries!

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