The Mad Flight’s long-awaited debut full-length, Break, Heart; Break!, is due out later this month and the trio have graciously allowed us to premiere the album’s first single, “Pen Ultimatum,” a dark, idiosyncratic affair that throws off hints of the National’s stately pop. From the soft lull of the opening guitars the band creates a gray-hued atmosphere of melancholy regret with Paul Cantrell’s sober baritone flashing equal shades of bitterness and hurt. It’s a song that you need to approach patiently; the hooks are buried just below the surface so there’s a little digging to do and if you don’t pay attention you’ll miss the song’s finer details—the exquisite bursts of glistening guitars or the ruminative synths floating in the background. But there is no missing the track’s insistent rhythms or Cantrell’s wrenching sincerity or the torrent of drums forcing the dramatic groundswell into the chorus. The Mad Flight seem to have an instinct for knowing exactly what elements to push to the forefront and when to show restraint and “Pen Ultimatum” is a testament to their powerful and poetic songwriting. Give it a listen below.
STREAM: The Mad Flight - Pen Ultimatum
The Mad Flight will celebrate the release of Break, Heart; Break! on Wednesday, May 2 at the Earl. Supporting them will be Spirits and the Melchizedek Children and New Animal. Doors open at 8:30 pm. Admission is $5.