Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Fleshtones VS. Reality

I had lost touch with the Fleshtones for a while in the mid-to-late 80's when their trips to LA slowed down
and also lost track of their releases, but at some point I found this one and it is among their best! The playing is stellar, with plenty of fine horn work, lots of cool sing-alongs, excellent songwriting and the sound is terrific.

I'm listening to a homemade CD of this album and the order here is different from some I've seen on line, so I may have started with side two. In any case, there's a one-two punch of amazingness with "Our Own Time" and "Whatever Makes You Happy" - just try getting these songs out of your head. Unbelievably catchy and foot-stompin'-ly rockin'! Barely bringing it down a notch for the more reflective "Mirror Mirror", with its ultra-cool guitar lick and marimba (!) work they then they give us some true funkiness, propelled by Bill's pounding drums, in "The End of the Track". Quite groovy and lots of instrumental interaction with wah-wah and fuzzed guitars, saxes, sirens, and their patented group vocals.

They're downright cheery in the harmonica-pop of "Nothing's Gonna Bring Me Down", sound like they're partying in "Another Direction" and channel the Kinks (with their own twists - even Troggs-like ocarina!) for "Way Up Here". "Way Down South" brings Keith in for vocals on this high-energy southern rocker, complete with cool piano work, and then they get truly soulful for the Temptations' wonderful "Treat Her Like a Lady". "Too Late to Run" is still hard and heavy but with a hauntingly beautiful melody line in this tale of addiction and "The Return of the Leather Kings" is a dark Gary Glitter-ish stomper as only the Fleshtones can do - cool and memorable, chant-alongs, more bitchin' horns and infectious as hell!

As I said, this is up there with their top work, so be sure to get this one when looking into these mad geniuses of rock'n'roll!