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Friday, October 3, 2008

CD Review: Mel Flannery Trucking Company - White Flag

Mel Flannery Trucking Company - White Flag
2007, Mel Flannery Trucking Company

The age of the Torch singer has come and gone, but every once in a while a singer comes along whom threatens to revive the sordid tales sung in gin joints across America. There is a quality of voice that is required that not too many singer possess, and there is a wanton attitude required that not many feel or can create. Don't look now, but Brooklyn's Mel Flannery is just that sort of singer. Mel Flannery Trucking Company dropped the EP White Flag in 2007. It's seven songs of misty-whiskey magic.

Mel Flannery has a voice to die for. Full of color and texture, you could easily hear Flannery's voice coming from a smoky nightclub circa 1935. The other thing really remarkable about White Flag is the material. Several of the songs sound like they could have come from an Off-Broadway production about the dark side of 1930's New York City life. Anyone And Everyone is the ultimate song of a lost soul, and Flannery sells it with every ounce of her voice. Anniversary is a wonderful love song, although the arrangement does sound a bit muddy in a few places.

So Much Better Half may be the most passive-aggressive bitter post-breakup song ever written. The words and music in this one are utterly amazing, although Flannery's delivery is a little subdued on this one. Whether that is to feed the passive anger that infuses the song may be an artistic decision, but the song's anger is greater and deeper than it comes across on CD. Fairy Tales is full of regret and unrequited love; it literally seethes with sorrow. The disc closes with Too Good To Be True, a wonderfully dark and busy musical arrangement. Flannery sounds like she struggles with the high end of one or two on the final song, but on the whole gives an amazing vocal performance.

White Flag is an album full of surprises, most of them pleasant. One or two blips aside, this album is full and ripe and unique, and Mel Flannery's voice explodes out of every song. Mel Flannery has an amazing voice and is a pleasure to listen to. The ghosts of torch singers past hang just on the edge of her reverie, and White Flag is a composite of these communal moments.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Mel Flannery at You can purchase a copy of White Flag at

1 comment:

Hino said...

Very interesting read, I will check it out.