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CD REVIEW

Various “Post Flag”

by James Hadfield

It’s a shame that the era of homemade mixtapes is already behind us. “Post Flag” would have gone down well with the budding compilers of this world, sweating over their cassette decks as they searched for a choice oddity to slot between The Beatles and Lee “Scratch” Perry. They’d find plenty on this, a track-by-track cover album of Wire’s 1977 punk classic “Pink Flag,” delivered by a selection of Japanese indie acts of varying degrees of obscurity.

As with all such undertakings, it’s a decidedly mixed bag. On the one hand, there are bands such as Yolz in the Sky, whose version of “Pink Flag” is so faithful it makes you wonder if they thought they were entering a soundalike contest. On the other, there’s Electric Coma Trio, who stretch the 49-second instrumental “The Commercial” out to over 12 minutes of ambient bliss that sounds a bit like “Low”-era David Bowie. Rather nice it is, too.

In between, Groundcover take a Boredoms-shaped hatchet to “Lowdown,” Hyacca’s “Surgeon’s Girl” is an appealing riot of distortion and feedback, and Cottonioo recast “Three Girl Rhumba” as a sickly Casio keyboard workout with chipmunk vocals.

At nearly twice the running time of the original, “Post Flag” is certainly guilty of outstaying its welcome, and it’d take a stout constitution to listen to it all in one setting. Still, you’d be hard pressed to find a weirder summer soundtrack.