Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Fleshtones - Blast Off!

This ROIR cassette release has apparently (and rightfully!) been reissued numerous times since it was initially
unleashed on the Fleshtones-loving masses. These are early recordings with the original drummer (before Bill Milhizer came on the scene) and are not as great as their later work, but still something that any Fleshtone-fan should own!

As they always would, here they mix garage and soul in their own unique blend and come up with something quite amazing and quite different from any of the other 60's-styled bands out there. There's some good variety here, with the self-explanatory "Soul Struttin"", their amazing anthem "American Beat", a Strangeloves covers ("Cara-Lin") and one of the best songs of all-time, "Shadow Line", whose live glory has never been adequately been captured in any recording - and they have done several. "Coming In (Dead Stick)" has Keith taking lead vocals on this frantic number while they bring in Alan Vega to sing on their garage-styled cover (dig Peter's harmonica) of Suicide's "Rocket USA".

"Atom Spies" was probably the first of the group's fantastic instrumental themes for movies-that-never-were, with Peter pounding the Farfisa for some extra added texture. Frat rock is represented in the original "BYOB" while "The Way I Feel" is blindingly frenzied and "Watch Junior Go!" is a rockin' dance number. Harmonica-driven garage-pop gets a go in "Judy" and Keith takes front and center again for the terrific "Critical List", a finely-crafted rocker, with a cool group count-off in the breakdown, sing-along at the end and plenty of energy to spare. At warp-speed, the band seems to think they have something to prove in "Rockin' This Joint", and they certainly do prove that they can do this! Wild times!

While this might not be as essential as albums like Roman Gods, this is still a fun insight to one of America's longest lasting garage groups! Get it!