Sunday, March 2, 2008

Take A Good Look At What You Missed All These Years

A squealing farfisa, barely in time hand claps, raggedy harmonies, the Fleshtones are back!!!! "The who?!?" you might ask yourself. I feel for you. Asking that very question is admitting your life has been devoid of the purest brand of R&R up till now. The Fleshtones have been giving it up for years. They played CBGB's when Kurt Cobain was still crapping his pants. They blew the Ramones and Blondie off stage when the word Punk had yet to be invented. The Fleshtones were still R&R by the time the Stones traded their sex & drugs for spring water and health spas. They outlived many of Punk Rock's heroes and there seems to be no stopping them yet. Though years of scrambled together tours and albums, through years of high spirits and the lowest of lows, through thousands of sweat drenched R&R dives and dozens of guaranteed hitless albums, the Fleshtones have been the uncrowned kings of R&R. So you'd better take a good look at what you missed all those years.

The Fleshtones have come a long way since they spawned from Brooklyn's seediest of basements. Their brand of Garage took them all over the world touring in obscurity. For some strange reason they became super stars in Paris. But then again the French are strange. But in any other country in the world they've been R&R's biggest promise for the last thirty odd years. Some bands would change their formula when confronted with the amounts of set backs the Fleshtones had to deal with. But they are not your ordinary band. They will simply keep doing what they do best, just as long as it takes for you to get it stupid! The minute the needle hits the first groove on the record, you'll know the boys haven't changed their game, though they might have perfected it a little further. Make no mistake, the raggedy mess you'll hear on "Take A Good Look" is the Fleshtones at their slickest. This album finds the band playing tighter than they ever have, finds them crashing into their songs with the greatest conviction, with a production that is on par with their finest work. In other words, they are still trying to keep up with their R&B heroes and failing gloriously. Taking you down with howling harmonica solos, blazing sax honking, rollicking piano strides, scotching guitar riffs, worn down vocals and just a little more sweat for comfort. This is what R&R is supposed to be, what it needs to be. R&R isn't pleasant, no matter what your FM radio is trying to tell you, R&R is the jumbled mess that is the Fleshtones.

It is rare to find a band so consistent as the Fleshtones. You can pick up almost any record of theirs and get exactly what you expected. The best dose of pure R&R that will have you bopping through the room. The Watusi, the Penguin, the Funky Chicken, the Tighten Up, you'll find yourself doing all those crazy dances even if you never knew how. "Shiney Hiney" is a piece of R&R poetry that would make the Ramones proud, "Going Back To School" with its throbbing base will have the Stones hiding in shame, "New York City" is the great classic Gary 'US' Bonds never wrote, "Jet Set Fleshtones" makes the Faces look like they don't know Pub-Rock. In a better world the latter would rocket up to the top of the charts. The rudimentary farfisa licks, the vicious guitar riffing, the clunky tambourine, are catchier than they should be. Look out! They are indeed the Jet Set Fleshtones, everybody move on up and take a real good look at what you denied yourself all those years. Take a good look, because the Fleshtones are breaking through, dragging you into their world howling and screaming. Pick up the record and get cool online extras from their record company Yep Roc records, see them in a town near you, let them sink in through a blue wale haze. Don't try to fight it, the Fleshtones will make it feel good to feel!!!

"The Jet Set Fleshtones"

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