Chicago Alt-Rock Band The Flips Explore Mental Health On New EP
Chicago alt-rock outfit The Flips have been making music out of misery for a couple years now and they’re not stopping any time soon. Tackling the dark reality of mental health issues in their music, the five-piece group craft important, relatable narratives packaged as palatable pop-punk efforts. On their latest EP, Exactly Where I Should Be, The Flips give the best they’ve got once again with five high-energy, high-emotion tracks.
We asked Nick Sintos, guitarist and lead vocalist for the band, to tell us a little about the EP. You can hear him explain about their mission to discuss mental health but make things sound “much less dour” below.
Exactly Where I Should Be operates as an evolution. Song after song, we have the exciting privilege of watching things unfold for The Flips. Things get louder, they get crazier, and then they get soft. It’s not a linear system of growth that we’re witnessing, but rather, the very real and very raw crescendos and comedowns of a couple talented friends going through the motions. Not only are The Flips putting words to important feelings, though — they’re also making them sound damn good with their skillful rock instrumentation.
The EP opens with “What’s The Plan?”, a dynamic opener featuring the brash cacophony of raging percussion, guitar, bass, and keys. Every once in a while, the robust arrangement falls away to make room for the vocals to deliver aching confessions before being swallowed back up by roaring rock rhythms. Back and forth it goes, from the manic to the mellow and the question mark in between, the music mimicking the band’s subject matter. Next comes “Right Now,” pulsing with steady percussion and the sear of distortion before erupting into a rapid-fire arrangement. The subtle sparkle of keys popping like confetti in the air once in a while is a special addition here, just one of the many details that make The Flips succeed. When the hook hits — “I just want you by my side / For once will you just see my side?” — things get intense, another smash of multi-instrumental melody resounding. It’s not always a frenzy though — when the arrangement kicks out in favor of the percussion keeping urgent pace with the two-part vocal harmony, it’s a beautiful moment of bubbling anticipation of the alt-rock goodness left to come.
The halfway mark of Exactly Where I Should Be finds “Promise Ring,” buzzing and screeching with psychedelic-punk influence. Swirling with the groggy fog of garage-rock production, it’s a welcome reprieve to the polished alt-rock of the rest of the EP, offering a drowsier, edgier side to The Flips beyond their clear talent for strict rocking and rolling. “The Point” returns to the band’s signature emo work with the kind of angsty reflections we all know so well, flavored by the drone of synth and bash of percussion. Later, the band join together for a good-times kind of choir, howling a verse into a moody arrangement led by guitar and bass. It’s a dazzling, dynamite end to the track, a standout moment on an EP already riddled with good impressions. The record ends with “Sadder Days (For Gene & Jo),” a gorgeous six-minute closer in which the band tackle the tender this time, abandoning their go-to dissonance for gentler rhythm lines with sparkling keys and dreamy harmony. Both voices here are commendable, so in-the-moment and emotional, delivering line after line of heart-heavy tribute. All the while, the arrangement shimmers and trills with muted, fuzzy indie rock treatment. It’s a beautiful end to an EP thick with punchy emotion.
On Exactly Where I Should Be, The Flips offer the ultimate best of their collective talents. The result is a quick collection of powerful alt-rock anthems touched by moments of earnest emotion. This band makes music in the same way that they feel: hard and unapologetically.
Itching for more music magic? We’ve got you covered. Follow The Music Mermaid below.
Photo courtesy of Brobi Photo.