(out of five)
Crafted by Sleater-Kinney's Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss, Helium's Mary Timony, and the Minders' Rebecca Cole, Wild Flag's 10 songs are exciting in all the ways you'd expect and will love, so let's focus on what's worth mentioning. First, this album is GOOD, vital in a way that records by "supergroups" rarely are. Second, Brownstein's never been a great singer and that holds true here, but alternating tracks with the relatively supple-voiced Timony lightens her load, and Brownstein's nasally yelping is offset by the catchy racket that envelops her at every turn. Third, holy crap it's great to have Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss smashing around together again. The best moments of Wild Flag find Weiss and Brownstein mining the spiky/swampy surfer-Zep chemistry they'd honed on Sleater-Kinney's finale The Woods, here laced with perfectly attractive organ and vocal harmonies by Cole. It's a tough, tight, fun-packed debut for a band that's in it for real.