Flesh World - The Wild Animals In My Life (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Flesh World

The Wild Animals In My Life (2015)

Iron Lung

I will freely admit that the name-dropping of Jean Genet and Lou Reed as influences on Flesh World maybe elevated my expectations for this band a little too much. Featuring members of Limp Wrist and Brilliant Colors, Flesh World plays brooding, mid-tempo post-punk that is maybe a tad too uniform as noted below. If the band doesn't hit the same heights of creativity as Genet and Reed (for one this band is not as funny or nasty as either of them), this is still a decent record.

The guitar playing here is certainly reminiscent of Reed and his collaborators (and is aptly highlighted in the album mix): it's sharp yet fuzzy, menacing, roving and cutting through the spaces in the song with glee. The guitar is absolutely the best part of the album and guitar geek punks might be interested in Flesh World for that alone. However the vocals are distinctive as well - the singer is something like a Gothic Carrie Brownstein, with a similar slanted whine but less defiant, more gloomy and bleak. Where Brownstein would scream "You tear me up just to tear me down" with a brash fuck-you in her tone, the lead singer is simply defeated, morose. The band overall has their sound to a T: gorgeous guitar fuzz and drang, fatalistic crooning, and a rhythm section obsessed with hitting the downbeat and tambourine at once.

The big issue is that all of the songs are very similar - mid tempo post-punk songs are typically a wonderful thing but not when most of the album is eight of those in a row. Once you've heard one Flesh World song, you've heard them all. This does make "Strawberry Bombers" a nice variation, but it's almost too late by the time six-minute closer "Here Comes The Dark" spices things up. The vocals also blend together because of the similarity, and so do the lyrics, something that can't be said about their other influences. It's always weird to say a band should slow down too much, but contemporary post-punk band Savages has done so to often brilliant results, and so should Flesh World.

In short, this isn't a bad album at all but it's just a little dull, and proof that albums almost always need to be sequenced with a variety in the sound (unless you're the Ramones, in which case fuck that noise). Flesh World has the right elements, but needs the right alchemy to get better. Until then, they're a competent, decent side-project.