CD Review: The Fleshtones

Take a Good Look! Yep Roc
Music ••• Sound ••

Over the course of their 30-years-and-still-going-strong career as the world's premier garage-revival/party band, the Fleshtones have probably released more albums than most of you have had hot meals. And here's the dirty little secret: None of them, not even minor classics like 1982's Roman Gods and 1995's Laboratory of Sound, have come close to capturing the sweaty, beer-soaked fun of their live shows.

Produced mostly by fellow first-generation CBGB alumnus Ivan Julian, Take a Good Look! is no different: The songs are wonderful, and the whole thing's undeniably infectious, but there's still something missing, no matter how loud you turn the damn thing up. Atmosphere? Magic? I don't know what it is, but I do know that I've seen God at various Fleshtones performances - and yet for some unfathomable reason, He or She has never made more than a token appearance on any of their CDs.

That said, there's some great stuff here in the band's trademark Sixties-inflected Three Chords and a Cloud of Dust style. I'm particularly taken by "Down to the Ground," which suggests the "Brown Sugar"-era Rolling Stones crossed with the Flintstones, and the title track, which sounds for all the world like Mouse and the Traps channeling a Bob Dylan rant about gentrification.

In short, Another Fun Fleshtones Album, if not (alas) The Great One. Maybe next time.

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