Published Oct 17, 2016The Flat Five have been playing holiday shows and pick-up gigs for about a decade, but this is the first album recorded by this Chicago supergroup. Made up of veteran alt-country crooners Kelly Hogan and Nora O'Conner, NRBQ members Scott Ligon and Casey McDonnough and drummer Alex Hall, they've recorded an album of songs by songwriter Chris Ligon, Scott's older brother.
Chris Ligon's songs are catchy, clever and sweet, with subtle hooks that take a few listens before wedging into the listener's brain. His '70s singer-songwriter style is excellently fleshed out by the Flat Five, whose jazz-punk instrumental skills and mid-century close harmonies sound old fashioned and familiar without being a pastiche of any one era in particular.
One could get away with playing It's a World of Love and Hope in the background of any coffee shop, or using it as a quirky indie movie score. Does that make it too safe, too cute, too mellow? Almost. But though it'd be interesting to hear what this intensely talented group could do if they felt like pushing some boundaries, the Flat Five have carefully coloured inside the lines for their debut, and made a pretty picture, at that. (Bloodshot)