There's always room for more fun, simple, self-referential hard rock in the world, and that's why a band like MATADORS can get a pass for pretty much regurgitating their favorite QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE, URGE OVERKILL and HELLACOPTERS records and swaggering a little in sweaty leather pants while they do it. This Swedish band employs a gloriously dirty, live-off-the-floor sound and plenty of little country and tango quirks to keep their disposable good-time rock interesting.
There are plenty of other names on the MATADORS roadmap, from the classic (THIN LIZZY) to the relatively obscure (THE GIRAFFES, MENSCLUB) to the ones who'll define where this record ends up at the record store (FU MANCHU, QOTSA). Vocals are tossed-off paeans to rock and roll, the band, and how much the band rocks and rolls, while thick dirty fuzz bass anchors jangly guitars and occasional bits of sweet lead axe. At times, the “robot rock" gets a little too close for comfort — if MATADORS ever actually made any money, they might have to send some of it to Josh Homme for songs like "Ditched On a Pile". But if it's the band's destiny to be ultimately derivative, they sound like they're having a blast doing it, and it's hard to get too mad at ‘em when their silly enthusiasm (handclaps, cowbell and all) is this infectious.
"Flame the Whisper" isn't one of those records that stands up to extended analysis, nor does it need to. Suffice it to say that if you dig bands who rock like they mean it, and you don't get your knickers in a knot over originality or the lack thereof, MATADORS are a perfectly acceptable party soundtrack, with neither the potential or the desire to be much of anything else. Like the band says in "Just Like Lucy Said", "shake your little tushy on down." What else needs to be said?