Review: The Worn Flints - Gloria Avenue

March 31st, 2019

“Eyes glazed over, I could barely see / And all I hear are whispers while they pray / And through the fog I know I heard her say / Oh, my brother / For the last time / Oh, my brother / Is all I heard…”

 

The Worn Flints, to me, have always been one of those Columbus bands you listen to when you just want to rock and roll, when you want to run around and kick stuff over… Or, when you want to watch the frontman of a three-piece band run around on one leg, ripping a solo, their face contorting in tune with the bend of every note.

But this year, that frontman lost his sister to cancer.

It’s been heartbreaking to follow, just reading facebook update after facebook update, talking about the condition of a woman I’ve never met; sister to a friendly face around town, the musician whose work I enjoy. But every facebook post came with dozens on dozens of comments, friends of this woman, who detailed just how important and powerful she was.

And then, they posted this: the Mug & Brush Session to the first single, “Oh, Brother”. I could barely make it through the halfway point. I watched it three or four times in a row. The goosebumps wouldn’t shake (they still don’t).

The record, released on March 1st, came with similar surprises. Maneuvering through low-key rock riffs backing Kenny’s powerful, yet concise, storytelling; to the loud, driving “Exit Line”...

And then, “The Call”. I had to hit pause, take my headphones off, and take a break.

Splitting the record in half, “The Call” is a literal voicemail from Val, revealing the news that she would be forgoing chemo after receiving news she was pregnant (the pair grace the cover of the record, a terrific photo by Photo614).

It’s not all remorse, though: the record includes standouts like “Sami Rae”, about Kenny’s partner, a track reminiscent of the “old” Worn Flints, a rock track all the way through (sorry Kenny -- I know you said this wasn’t supposed to be “a rock record” -- but this track kicks ass.)

This was, on all accounts, the hardest listen since Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked At Me (2017), or The Antlers’ 2009 release Hospice. The fact it came from Columbus is just icing on the cake.

Hug your loved ones, listen to this record, and catch The Worn Flints the next time you see ‘em.