Usually cited alongside ’90s punk-pop peers the Fastbacks and (less often) the Posies, Flop had a grit and cynicism that drifted closer to the grunge end of the Seattlespectrum. Their third and final album, 1995′s World of Today, immediately followed a misguided major-label signing and the death of Kurt Cobain (“April Ate Our World” has to be about that), and sports fatalistic lyrics about sickness, disillusion and deception, offset by keen smarts and wry humor. At the same time, these songs are catchy as hell; Willoughby is a remarkably deft, self-possessed songwriter, speeding through hooks that other bands would milk for an entire album.
There are obvious Cheap Trick and Buzzcocks influences (singer/guitarist Rusty Willoughby was in a Cheap Trick cover band with Sub Pop owner Jonathan Poneman), but Flop aren’t mere power-pop. Willoughby’s previous band, Pure Joy, mined the neo-psych of early-’80s U.K. (Soft Boys, Teardrop Explodes) and L.A. (Three O’Clock, Rain Parade), and Flop retains those bands’ surrealism and dementia, both musically and lyrically. A mod influence shows through as well, in a Kinks-like wordiness and a fitting cover of The Move’s “Yellow Rainbow.” The combined effect is exhilarating, making World of Today one of the most overlooked treasures of Seattle rock.