The Flesh - Firetower (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Flesh

Firetower (2007)

Gern Blandsten

To be honest, I've never heard of these dudes, but you probably will within the next year. With catchy straight-forward pop beats with Joy Division-style guitars and some Chrissie Hynde-style vocals, these dudes are going to blow up huge. I mean, it'd be ridiculous if they didn't. It's accessible, it's catchy, it's, well, good. Not great or amazing, and nor do I particularly like it, but...pretty good. And that can only mean one thing: MTV is going to turn these dudes into the Next Best Thing. It's inevitable. But let's enjoy them before they get too popular and you deny ever liking this band that I've never heard of.

I lost the press sheet, but they look like they could be French from the band photo inside the liner notes. Oh shit, I lied. I just found the liner notes and it says they went on a European tour, not that they were European. My bad. Whatever. Some of the songs sound like Blonde Redhead with how they're arranged. I probably would have been way into this record four years ago, but I moved on a little I guess.

In fact, I'm going to continue with the comparisons. At times her voice can sound like Karen O., and other times the music reminds me of the new Feist album. "Compulsion" sounds like a flat-out No Doubt cover. I think that's the one that ruined it for me. Too much ska-influenced upstrokes. The band is at their best when they play loud rock music, but mostly it sort of sounds like a bad attempt at trying to be Pretty Girls Make Graves. And Blondie already did that whole female-vocals punk band-experimenting-with-ska-thing way back in the day.

At first I was disappointed that I could pigeonhole this band so easily and pick out similarities to other female-fronted groups, but you know what? That's not my fault for noticing what's already there. And it's easy to rest on the laurels of others. Emulation is a formula for success. And I wish the best for these guys.

Before I start off on another tangent, let's talk about the album more. When they're not aping other bands, the Flesh is doing their best to play upbeat tracks with dark tones and loud guitars. They can fall back onto dance beats or punk drums and it all suits them nicely. You're either going to like it, or hate. Or you might think it's okay. Whatever. Not my deal.