Flipper formed in San Francisco in 1979, and they're remembered three decades later because of a song called "Sex Bomb" that's one of the funniest pieces of music I've ever heard. It is eight minutes long. It has one crappy bass riff. Will Shatter sings one lyric: "Sex bomb, mama! Yeah!" That's the kind of thing that can earn you a place in history.
Thirty years on, most of the original line-up are back on a new album of studio tracks, but the spark is gone. Love is a humorless slog, a punk-by-the-numbers collection of 1-2-3-4 rock riffs and "rebellious" lyrics.
On "Live Real," Bruce Loose sings, "Don't be fake," and then he tells us that television is bad. The band's genius used to be their badness, their knack for embracing truly horrible noises, but on Love everything hangs together just fine. It's even polite, in a weird way, in its deference to the old traditions of punk rock. Flipper have earned the right to keep on if they want to, but wouldn't a reunion tour have been enough?