CD Review: The Fleshtones Wheel of Talent
The more things change, the more they stay the same. After having released their 22nd LP, The Fleshtones embody the meaning of this old adage. With Wheel of Talent, Streng and Zaremba’s songs holds true to their roots-rock/garage template while the disc’s performances are enhanced by contributions from some unexpected participants such as Mary Huff (Southern Culture on the Skids) and Jim Diamond (producer for White Stripes, Paul Collins).
Firstly, I’m really not a big fan of Jim Diamond’s no-frills, cut a record in an afternoon approach but it works spectacularly here. Surely, it helps when you’re working 50 year veterans of the rock scene. Still, Diamond’s production style is perfect for The Fleshtones’ sometimes reckless but aggressive party-rock approach.
A mixture of frat rock, soul, surf, and garage, Wheel of Talent is a very appropriate title for this LP. And amazingly, this baker’s dozen of songs from slow sing-alongs to fuzz-filled, uptempo surf/garage numbers will have you bopping and shouting out catchy choruses. “Available” opens the disc with the same balls to the wall attitude that exemplified their classic LP Powerstance. “It Is What It Was’, named after a quote the most unlikeliest of sources, Pope John Paul II, is an instant classic as well as “I Want You To Know”, featuring an infectious catchy chorus that will stick in your subconscious until you find yourself singing along.
“How To Say Goodbye” is a welcomed departure from the norm for the Fleshtones as Mary Huff’s soulful vocals changes things up a little bit. “Hipster Heaven” is evidence that the band’s sense of humor is as sharp as ever while “Tear for Tear”‘s 60’s surf vibe is absolutely killer. And any LP that includes a tribute to the Ramones (track 4 is called “Remember the Ramones”) becomes an instant classic by association.
Listen to The Heartless Devils, Thee Eviltones, or countless others and you’ll hear how much they’ve influenced today’s artists. If you live in the Greensboro NC area, you’re privvy to the Fleshtones live experience on March 28 as they appear at the Blind Tiger. Take my word for it. You don’t want to miss this one.