Black Flag - Family Man (1984), 6/10

The pacing and dichotomy of Family Man act significantly against its effectiveness, but there are some great moments and great songs in the mix. The first three spoken word tracks are worth visiting before the inane “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking”. The most notable highlights are clearly “Armageddon Man” which is essentially a punk band exploring jazz backed by one of Rollins’ best performances on the record along with “I Won't Stick Any of You Unless and Until I Can Stick All of You!” and its similarly ambitious performance. Notably, “Armageddon Man” is the only track with both vocals and performances from the band, which turns out to be a shame considering the track’s strength and quality. “Long Lost Dog of It” is a bit of a useless song on an otherwise entertaining and effective latter half. While it is certainly quite far from perfect, there is more than enough greatness to be discovered in the midst of the sloppy playing and silly poetry. Ginn’s guitar playing is notably excellent at times, as is Stevenson’s drumming on “Armageddon Man” but there is a clearly loose quality to their playing on many other tracks, which sometimes works and at times does not. Rollins would create more effective spoken word pieces in the future but it’s interesting to see the experimentation in the confines of Black Flag. Too inconsistent to be their best, but still a good release and a worthwhile listen.