Review Summary: Mere mass exposure to something does not make one capable of creating.
I'm sure most of you caught the Viral-In-A-Day, Gone-The-Next meme of the Olive Garden commercial bot. If not, the gist of it was that a robot was forced to watch and analyze thousands of hours of Olive Garden commercials and then was tasked with creating its own. The result was a rather unexpectedly hilarious script full of “infinite stick” and “secret soup” Despite the fact that it was probably fake or not as it seems, the point I'm relating to here is that mere mass exposure to something does not make one capable of creating at an equal level of quality. Flunk, unfortunately, did not quite understand this important point before making their 2002 debut trip-hop release.
If you bought into my Olive Garden bot comparison, then hopefully you'll share in my amusement upon hearing the first track entitled "I Love Music". Consisting of distorted samples repeating the titular phrase over generic spacey trip-hop vibes, the song is perhaps the best illustration of how its composers understood their style of music at a level nearly devoid of human or emotional connection. To follow they chose to include a cover. Now I must say it is a fairly interesting cover of the classic “Blue Monday” from New Order with some reimagination presenting in the form of an acoustic strum throughout the track; however, within the context of the album where originality is severely lacking, a cover does not do much to heal this most major flaw. Right after follows a track “Miss World” that again falls into this theme by sounding just like a cheap Tricky rip-off with a decent dark beat but featuring a grumbled male vocal interplay with a Bjork impersonation that sounds like a poor copy of a track off Nearly God
. Together these tracks were particularly poor choices for opening the album because they all fail to offer any momentum to the music.
Unfortunately, most of the album proceeds with rather predictable sounds from this point. Some redeeming moments pop up here and there as in some of the smoother production of “Honey's In Love”, but the majority of the album struggles along in a declining fashion. “Magic Potion” is perhaps the worst track with its horribly distorted vocals, and “Sugar Planet”, which may seem well produced, quickly reveals itself to be poorly written when layers of sound are added to the mix with a jerk rather than being smoothly woven. This imperfect layering of sounds shows up more than once but is at its worst here on “Sugar Planet”.
The back half of the album is less frustrating in that it has fewer mistakes, but it still does little to redeem the quality when much of it is highly forgettable. A moment of interest comes along but passes just as quickly like in “See Thru You” or “Distortion”. The song structures are fine but nothing more. The trip-hop influences are present and executed, but neither well or with sufficient emotion. Together it all makes for an album that may have some enjoyable points, but really isn't worth the time and frustration over the potential wasted. Clearly Flunk know trip-hop and have been influenced by a variety of its better artists, they are just never able to create something fully fleshed of their own that hasn’t been done to death before. With more emotion and originality, Flunk could be capable of good music. It just never fully manifests here.