The Fleshies! A punk-rock band that doesn't sound identical to all the rest. Oh boy!
Remember how they used to say, back when punk was just being born, that it was all about attitude? When the type of sound you were creating or how much prowess you had on your instrument was irrelevant so long as you had the punk spirit? And how this opened the floodgates for hundreds of kids to get bands together, say what they wanted to say, rip your head off even spit on you if they wanted? You might also recall that as time passed folks got a tad carried away with this all-attitude, no-skill approach, eventually losing sight of the original purpose of punk to say what you needed to say in your own, idiosyncratic way morphing into a genre made up of heartless sound-alike sounds and look-alike bands. Playing like an expert may have been unimportant, but doing your own thing was everything in the punk scene.
These days, it's rare to find a good punk band that doesn't serve the mere purpose of replicating something you already have in your collection (yawn). Which is where The Fleshies come in. They've found something different something that defines who they are, separates them from all the rest. Sure, at times, their sound recalls late-'70s and early-'80s punk bands such as Black Flag, The Germs and The Dils. But the Oakland foursome has through an intentionally satirical outlook, one-of-a-kind screeching sneers and infectious, metal-tinged melodies invented something different, something uniquely its own.
And in its two-year existence, the Oakland foursome has become known in punk circles for its wild live performances. Known to strip naked and hurt himself Iggy-style, frontman Johnny Pseudonym leads the band's rowdy sets, in which stuff is broken, things are burnt and laws are dismissed. Former Dead Kennedys main man Jello Biafra enjoyed their live show so much one evening, he signed them to his Alternative Tentacles label, releasing the excellent full-length debut, Kill the Dreamer's Dream, last year.
The Game of Futbol the band's latest EP release, put out on Green Day front Billie Joe Armstrong's Adeline Records in June opens with two futbol-focused songs. Lead track "Fists of Mercy" sucks you in immediately for its speedy, infectious punk-rock sound and call-to-arms feel, while the title track makes you wonder if you're listening to the same band, due to its slow, melancholy, very un-Fleshies nature and high-pitched desperate coos. What's Johnny moaning about? What else, a futbol game. Each of the remaining four blasting and banging tracks is a personal anthem from each bandmember and finds the band sticking close to what is fast becoming its trademark high-energy, screeching approach. Riding on a dirty metal-guitar riff and throaty, in-your-face shrieks, "Bon Bons" is, duh, bassist Vonny Bon Bons' track, loaded with energy and might. "Johnny Shenanigans" starts out droning before breaking into a speedy fit of mean guitar lines and is, of course, frontman Johnny Pseudonym's song. Guitarist Mattowar's track, "The Sexiest Man Alive," is led by nasal speak-singing by the whole group and is funny due to ... well, the title says it all. "The Tickler" must be drummer Brian Hamiltron's; it closes the EP with a coming-to-get-you guitar line and badass scream-singing.
You want some good ol' mean and fast punk-rock with a mind of its own? With the Fleshies, you got it.