The Flatmates

Love and Death (The Flatmates ‘86-'89)

A reissue of the Subway Organization release from 1990, Love and Death is a fine period piece and a nice change for Clairecords. This is pure, sloppy British pop. Not pop as Yanks play it, but more like the bands on the recommended and recent Rough Trade Shops compilation Indiepop 1. The Flatmates were nearly there in the late 1980s with the right gigs, label interest and good hum-along songs, but their full-length album for London Records never emerged. The band features edgy female vocals semi-sweetly pushed across jagged but tuneful guitars and functional drumming. Low-fidelity production and occasionally errant playing may annoy some, but the tarnished charm of the band’s developing songs reaches a nice plateau on “Shimmer” and with the multitracked girl-group polish of “Heaven Knows.”