Rhythm & Views 

The Fleshtones

It's doubtful that The Fleshtones' reputation as the most swinging party band in the U.S.A. will suffer any tarnish with Beachhead, their 13th release in a stellar 25-plus-year career. So beat-happy that they should have their own dance named after them (although I'd hate to imagine what "The Fleshtone" might actually look like), their rocking-soul, big-beat garage sound is as classic as a vintage Thunderbird. Whatever paisley-shirt-and-shades mojo The Fleshtones are steeped in allows them to deliver 11 songs on Beachhead that all sound like instant classics, a hit-to-miss ratio that any band would die for.

Among all the fuzzed-out guitars, chant-along choruses and monster drum beats, The Fleshtones are telling us what they are all about on "Serious" ("Let's get serious / about not being serious") and the unapologetic statement of rock 'n' roll purpose "I Am What I Am" ("and I like it"). Although production duties and studios are split between Southern Culture on the Skids main-guy Rick Miller in North Carolina and The Dirtbombs' Jim Diamond in Detroit, the songs and the sound are a solid and uniform hit parade, a single-CD jukebox filler. By the time they get to the insanely rocking "Push Up Man" ("Going up and down as fast as I can!"), it's time to call it a night, a day, a career, whatever. End of story. They win.

More by Carl Hanni


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