Flight, aka 27-year-old Steven Bevilaqua, is from Oxford, Mississippi, where, as he says, “There are good bands, but people would much rather listen to Sound Tribe Sector 9.” The music he makes couldn’t be further removed from inexplicably popular jam funk, or really anything on Oxford’s surface. Instead, Flight is the raucously beating heart and monstrous voice hidden under its pleasantly green streets and university buildings, telling stories that don’t fit in and don’t exactly want to.
Bevilaqua’s songs are about people wandering through towns, like Oxford, that they can’t escape. People who get drunk and beat up making mistakes and loving so hard it’s embarrassing. They’re about the stupid things we do when we’re not seeing clearly. In his world, jocks are assholes, burnouts are also assholes and authority ﬁgures are most likely kinda dicks. Everyone is stuck, and Bevilaqua accepts this wearily. His songs aren’t bummers so much as existential capsules though. You grow up, become an adult and deal with it. But it also seems like Bevilaqua remembers—with more relish than most—what it feels like to be a dick for no other reason than you’re bored, self-centered and 16. “Perspective’s not hard to come by, I guess,” he says. “I like young kids a lot—not to be creepy. They’re so refreshing to be around because they have good attitudes, which I don’t.”
On the latest Flight EP, The Lead Riders, Bevilaqua’s songs stretch their vicarious teenage legs further than on his previous 7-inches and one 10-inch record. Anthemic choruses are beefed up by some kind of vocal ﬁlter that makes his voice sound like three dudes submerged in swamp water singing through straws all at once. The words are teenage poetry skewed adult. But the real secret of Flight is not that he’s able to find catchiness in murk, or beauty in guitars that buzzsaw eardrums, it’s that he gets what it means to be not that into the life you’re in, and knows that even if it doesn’t change, it does get better.
So even though Bevilaqua started Flight as just “another fucking recording project,” something to do for fun in his downtime, if it falls into the hands of even just one kid who feels bummed and trapped, it could end up becoming a survivalist guide from someone who knows exactly what they’re going through. On the EP standout “Real Estate,” Bevilaqua sings We all miss the power of the sunrise over and over in crisscrossing layers, and before you even get a chance to remember that, holy shit, I do miss the adolescent excitement of watching the sun rise, he’s already moved on, singing with weird serenity: Let’s destroy the world. It’s the beauty and the uncertainty of kids clawing their way through shitty adolescence, and unlike most people, Bevilaqua doesn’t tell them it’s gonna be alright.
Stream: Flight, The Lead Riders