Friday, March 5, 2021

The Fleshtones "Face of The Screaming Werewolf"

(Yep Roc, 2020)   Well, it's hard to believe I've now been listening to The Fleshtones for 40 years, and they've never failed me (though I never really warmed up to "Beautiful Light”). I can safely say this is their strongest album in years. All the fuzztone and Yardbirdsian lead guitar, cheesy organ, Blueswailin' harmonica, pummeling beats and jet propelled bass lines of past efforts remain intact, and that's the fact, Jack. Sixties' influences still run strong, here, but this is no nostalgia trip. This is 21st century Rock'n’Roll as it SHOULD sound. An explanation of the title track is in order: ''Face of The Screaming Werewolf" is  a B(Some would say "Z")-Horror/Comedy picture from Mexico that was originally released as "La Casa Del Terror" starring Lon Chaney, Jr. and legendary Mexican comedian, Tin Tan. Jerry Warren had the film translated into English, with all of Tin Tan's parts removed. The story line, as it were, concerns Chaney, Jr. as a dormant mummy who comes to life as a rampaging werewolf (Solo en Mexico).  The song is not an exact replica of the movie's bizarre premise, but it's still one of the greatest Horror Rock songs Roky Erickson never wrote.  "Alex Trebek " is an enthusiastic tribute to the recently deceased host of "Jeopardy," which was written while he was still alive. It answers the musical question with a question, "Who is Alex Trebek?" "Violet Crumble, Cherry Ripe" is the "Waiting For The Man" of Australian candies (which make an ass out of our own), Violet Crumble being a breakable chocolate toffee bar and Cherry Ripe a delectable gooey candy made from real cherries and coconut and coated in real chocolate, made with cream instead of milk. The song is delivered from the point of view of the understandable addict, dying for another taste. The album also contains two boss Instrumentals, "Swinging Planet X," in which Bo Diddley is fused with Joe Meek, and the rambling "Somerset Morning," which evokes Duane Eddy and The Shadows' guitar sounds, wrapped around the melodic harp sounds of frontman Peter Zaremba, who throughout this package plays some of his finest harmonica melodies since "Roman Gods," their debut album. Zaremba and Guitarista De Plata, Keith Streng, trade off strong R'n'B fueled vocals all through this full slab of Super Rock sounds, while drummer Bill Milhizer and bassist Ken Fox hold down the fort in their own inimitable way. ''Manpower Debut" and "The Show is Over" blaze at breakneck Punk Rock tempos, while a faithful reading of The Rolling Stones' Psychedelic B-Side "Child Of The Moon" is a pleasant, if temporary, diversion from all the raw rockin' fury presented here. Record prices have been soaring as of late, but The Fleshtones are quick to give you your money's worth, and they've sweetened the deal with not only purple "Spin art" vinyl, but a cardboard Hallowe'en werewolf mask that even comes with an elastic band for easy wear. Like X, The Fleshtones have NOT mellowed with age, but like fine wine, they still have plenty of kick, and Kicks are never hard to find.  

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