THE FLYS ARE just another faceless indie band who got their alterna-metal/pop chops down, but should be worrying about their day jobs delivering pizza. The main problem is vocalist Adam Paskowitz's annoying singing style. Imagine a steroid-pumped Stan Ridway mixed with the crotch-metal histronics of a Ronnie James Dio-wannabe, and you realize the nauseating scenario. Caterwauling drenched in stupidity and pretense. Nothing remotely original here. The uncharacteristic Alex Chilton-esque lounge rocker "Understanding" is a blatant rip-off of the Zombies classic "Tell Her No." And incredibly, no credit or acknowledgement whatsoever is given. Unfortunately for the Flys, it's also the best cut on the hodge-podge of semi-melodic spazz rock slop.
John Fogerty Wrote a Song for Everyone
AS TRIBUTE ALBUMS--a cursed subgenre--go, this Finnish compilation honoring John Fogerty isn't bad. A few of the cuts, like the Psychlone Rangers' rendering of "Effigy," are by-the-numbers exercises, and Fogerty's lyrics are several times misquoted, but most of the featured bands strive to do their mighty subject justice. Highlights are Girl Trouble's quirky reading of "Commotion," which sounds more like Motorhead than Creedence; Al Perry & The Cattle's altogether twisted take on "Fortunate Son," on which Belinda Carlisle's lawyers are doubtless sharpening their quills; and Steve Wynn's raucous, roadhouse version of "Graveyard Train."
NEW ORLEANS' CAJUN Playboys almost blow it on the first cut, "Rock Star," a boneheaded "anthem" with a tokin' 'n' smokin' melody and inexplicable Beach Boys backing harmonies (they disembalmed Alex Chilton for the chore, and the track also includes a faceless Dave Alvin on guitar). Luckily, they quickly revert to their natural groove. Joe Cabral and Rod Hodges' vocals are as sweet as those of Los Lobos, and the band's pan-ethnic eclecticism fairly brims with exotic surprises.
There's the mambofied "Lupita" with ensemble percussion and sleek twin sax lines; a hilarious, zydeco-tinged tale of woe called "Benny's Cadillac" (nice accordion lines); a slinky, swampy blues number, "So Tired," featuring subtle call-and-response riffing between the sax and a chooglin' axe. This is border radio, folks, Big Easy style, as tasty as a big ol' muffaletta.
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