The Flairs

Album Title: The Flairs EP
Release Date:
Genre: Rock
Comprised of a pair of siblings (Gillian and Ryan Hanna) and a pair of escapees from Toronto girl-pop band Tuuli (Jen Foster and Dawn Mandarino), the foursome that is Vancouver's The Flairs come together to release an interesting little beast of an EP. Made up of five original tracks and the one required cover (in this case, Skid Row's "18 & Life"), it's the typical filler in between nonstop touring and an eventual full-length album. It's candy fluff for the most part, but once it gets under your skin, The Flairs' combination of sweet female vocals and shredding guitars could end up being a guilty pleasure.

On record, frontwoman Mandarino has very little of the spitting snarl of Brody Dalle or Karen O, but her sneering inner punk comes through especially in the chorus of "18 & Life." Throughout the EP, her vocals tend to resemble a young Shirley Manson's - occasionally treading on Gwen Stefani's territory - but they lack the edge that's needed to go along with the punchy punkrawk backing her up. As for the songs themselves, there's not a lot of substance in that area either, but it's easy enough to chalk that up to the relative youth of The Flairs - band-wise and musician-wise. "Kill Me With Kindness," co-written with Mandarino's rocker husband Todd Kerns, is probably the most standout track of the six, complete with a speedy intro and catchy, bright hooks. If we could see more of this from The Flairs in the future, these kids will really be ready to make a mark.

You have to figure that getting out of Tuuli was a good career move (not to mention a good creative move) for Mandarino especially; then again, you kind of have to wonder where either band will be in five years' time. Still in the Canadian music scene's collective consciousness? It's doubtful. But at least it seems they're having fun with where they are right now.

Writer: Caitlin Hotchkiss

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