Review: Michael Flynn – Face In The Cloud

Michael Flynn will be known to a few as one half of Slow Runner, a pop rock outfit from South Carolina. Their bio boasts that their music has been employed to promote “useful products like cars and shampoo” as well as the oft-referenced Grey’s Anatomy (do they ever make room for dialogue in that show?). With his new solo album, though, Flynn has produced arguably this year’s guilty pleasure.

Michael Flynn Album Cover

An album which opens with a frenetic burst of military drums mixed with ambient music and ends with a trip-hop/film noir piece called ‘That Danny Glover Feeling’ surely has to be cherished. Unafraid of sounding brash when he needs to, ‘Winsome Lonesome’ begins with a burst of synths which wouldn’t sound out of place on the theme to Flashdance but the song then unfolds into soulful electronica; Flynn’s warm vocals urging “somebody take me home” to anyone who will listen. ‘Old Soul’ is Flynn in his most infectious mode from the catchy synth lines to Flynn’s unerringly melodic tones. It’s a glorious moment and ‘Face In The Cloud’ is full of these moments.

Exploring his darker side, ‘Holy Ghost’ moves into spooky circles both literally and musically, thanks to frosty beats and bleeps which chill to the bone. An appealing falsetto and further cheap but hooky synths distinguish ‘Pop Culture’. Further pleasures occur on the smooth ‘Bird In The House’ (“just let me run my fingers through your feathers”) and the “last song at the school disco” feel to ‘The Arrow At Your Feet’, whilst some forlorn digitised vocals on the piano-led ‘A Love That Bends’ imagines romance for robots.

No matter how cheesy and retro some of these songs may be in their approach, the constants are Flynn’s imagination and unfailing ear for melody. He also deserves great credit for creating a sense of intimacy with his emotive take on bedroom studio pop.

Web Sites:
Michael Flynn Official Site
Michael Flynn Bandcamp

Further Listening:
The Postal Service, Scritti Politti, Christian McKee


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