Sam Flax: "Fire Doesn't Burn Itself"


By George Bass | 27 November 2012

With his psychedelic wailing and Rutger Hauer hair, Sam Flax looks like something out of a peyote user’s nightmare. His sense of melody proves he isn’t: the Californian multi-instrumentalist plays caterwauling dirges from an era where love was free, and Dennis Hopper was still fit to operate a motorbike. Flax’s debut Age Waves is as much influenced by ’60s counterculture as it is modern pop production. It seems he’s out to show you can stick it to the man while still enjoying designer drugs and Apple Logic Pro.

The LP’s most immediate track, “Fire Doesn’t Burn Itself,” is a jewel of fuzzy swamp music that comes with one headfuck of a video. Looking every bit as wired as his intergalactic backing girls, Flax screams “Higher / Higher!” as tambourines rattle and guitars crow out rhythmic feedback. The tame chorus, whose chant must surely make sense after you’ve been wandering the desert for hours, gets picked up by an ’80s synth finale, and groovy rock flourishes that sound like Austin Powers at a witch dance. It’s almost worth hoping for a Goldmember sequel if the music and jokes could be as far out as this.

► “Fire Doesn’t Burn Itself”