FLESHTONES — Wheel of Talent

Album: Wheel of Talent

Artist: Fleshtones

Label: Yep Roc

Release Date: February 11, 2014

Fleshtones 2-11

www.yeproc.com

 BY LEE ZIMMERMAN

 Regardless of whether the Fleshtones live up to the name inscribed on this, their latest release, is a matter best left to others to debate. The one thing that’s clear and absolutely certain is that after nearly 40 years and two dozen albums, they’ve proved that garage rock is still a viable entity well worthy of sustaining a career. Never ones to be accused of postulating with undue sophistication, the Fleshtones deserve to be called the reigning champions of the genre, right up there with the Ramones, the New York Dolls, the MC5, the Stooges and any other claimants to that crown.

 Still, for all their brash posturing and attempts at insurrection, the Fleshtones remain a remarkably heady bunch, one whose songs emit a patented approach that’s both confident and competent. While songs such as “Jericho,” “What You’re Looking For”, “Tear for Tear” and “The Right Girl” show no slack in their part, there’s also no shortage of sheer pop savvy, which, for all that edge and agitation, also makes the music almost effortlessly accessible. Indeed, there are nods to that pure pop penchant in evidence throughout — “What I’ve Done Before,” “How To Say Goodbye” and “For a Smile” in particular — indicating a desire to cater to a more mainstream approach. However, lest anyone think they’re vying for the hit parade, “Remember the Ramones,” a sound-alike ode to their onetime brethren, leaves no doubt as to where their sympathies still lie.

Inevitably, despite a misguided attempt at cultural crossover with “Vea La Luz” and any scepticism that their sensibilities may be out of sync with what’s expected from musicians of their age and aptitude, Wheel of Talent stands as a definitive statement on the virtues of faithfully pursuing an unbending musical direction without regard to fashion or finesse. Rock on, boys, rock on.

 DOWNLOAD: “What I’ve Done Before,” “How To Say Goodbye,” “For a Smile”

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