I first heard of Larry and His Flask when I was sent a Youtube video of some crazy country hooligans playing an instantly catchy–albeit twangy–song on a New York City street corner. The sheer energy from the band was infectious; as I felt my own excitement grow, I watched the audience on the street corner get more and more into the music. You just can’t deny that kind of passion.
And so began my infatuation with Larry and His Flask. I quickly sought out any music of theirs that I could download, delightedly finding three albums made circa 2008. I immediately became confused, thinking I had accidentally downloaded the wrong band — this was some kind of grunge punk, not the twangy wonderfulness that had graced my ears via Youtube. After some research, I found that the band had, in fact, performed and recorded for years as a punk act, admitting that they had prioritized partying and playing shows over making actually good music.
In 2009, the band underwent a life-changing makeover. The vocalist switched to drums, the bassist took on a stand-up bass, and the guitarist took lead vocals. They joined forces with another guitarist, a banjo player and a mandolin player, and so makes up the band we know and love today. Shortly after, they recorded their new bluegrass/punk sound onto a self-titled 7” record.
Eventually, I found the three song self-titled EP that had that twang I had been searching for. It satisfied my desires, but still left me wanting more. Luckily, the Flask boys have just came out with a brand new album, their first full length after their incredible evolution.
One of the most impressive things about the Flask is that they somehow manage to transfer their energy onto their recordings. On All That We Know, you can hear every ounce of passion and energy that went into making this album. Having seen them live, there is no question that they are most at home while performing.
The opening track is “Land of the F(r)ee” and it instantly sets the tone for the album: high-energy, punk-infused bluegrass that makes you want to sing and dance along. I had the pleasure of watching this song up close in an unplugged street set at Warped Tour; I literally got chills from how good they were.
“Flags and Concrete” has a darker folk-rock feel to it, while still being very melodic. It sounds much like “Wolves” and the other songs from the self-titled EP, but more refined. It is really clear that LAHF have mastered their sound on this album. For darker, slower, less upbeat songs, see also “No Life,” “Manifest Destiny,” and “End of an Era.”
For upbeat and passionate tracks, check out “Blood Drunk” and “Call It What You Will.” “West Virginia Chocolate Drop” is exceptionally catchy and a bit silly, while “Ebb and Flow” is one of the more accessible tracks on the album; it is much more rock and much less twang, but with all of the power.
“Beggars Will Ride” is, in my opinion, one of the very best tracks on this album. I have not been able to stop singing it in my head ever since seeing them at Warped Tour. And, honestly, I don’t really mind.
The song that was on the Youtube video that first made me fall in love with LAHF was “I’ll Be Gone,” which has established itself as one of the best tracks on All That We Know. It starts off beautifully a capella, reminiscent of a 1920s barbershop quartet. Then, in true Flask form, it breaks down into some funky bluegrass. “Slow It Down” is another of the best tracks on this album. Just as the title would suggest, it is more down-tempo and shows a softer side of the Flask.
Overall, the album is just as powerful as their live performances are–and that’s saying something. Even if bluegrass/country/folk isn’t your thing, I’d suggest checking them out just for the sheer energy that they bring to the table. All That We Know became available for digital download on June 21st, and the physical copy dropped August 9th.