Fleshies – Gung Ho! (CD)

Continuing their live insanity onto disc, “Somebody Twisted Your Arm” is a perfect example of the thrash/punk fusion that Fleshies work so well in. Using distortion right out of the eighties and a shouted-out set of vocals reminiscent of Darby Crash, Fleshies come to each track on “Gung Ho!” with a myriad of interests and short times in which to express them. Ending “Twisted” with a sizzling guitar riff, “I Just Took The Most Punk Rock Shit Of My Life” looks farther back into American rock for the rhythm riff even if the drums come out of a metal background. Orienting the bass line along the noisy, jangly guitar riff of “Shit” is a work of genius as the high/low, dark/light dichotomy causes the track to work on two distinct levels. “Now I Can Only Hear Sirens” has Fleshies bring the song title to the listeners, recreating sirens through their guitars and hiding a strong melody underneath a layer of distortion and fuzz. With different tracks recorded in different locals, a track like “I Can’t Hear You” is much more compressed, and this limitation draws The Fleshies closer to the punk bands of yore. This compression, as well as a straight-forward set of vocals and melodic backups, makes this an old-school punk epic in the present day.

This compilation of tracks showcases the strongest pieces by Fleshies, and should be considered a greatest hits released by an act while they are still at the peak of their game, instead of trying to milk money out of a fanbase 20 years after the band was lucky enough to be called washed-up. Continuing their backwards-glance at some of the most influential bands of the last 25 years, “The Long Road” is reminiscent of The Misfits, Rancid, and some of the more-upbeat punk, such as Unwritten Law, that permeated the California scene in the mid to late 1990s.

Jumping between genres and general sounds shows the extraordinary nature of The Fleshies, and it is only on a disc like “Gung Ho!” that is eclecticism can really show up. By chronically listing these tracks instead of using a myriad of tracks from the same sessions, we see different snapsnots as the band would grow and evolve. The Fleshies have tons of material to wade through, and this album is recommended for anyone who is not familiar with the band at present and also for the rapid Fleshies fan alike – these songs should have seen the light of day sooner, and are not the typical filler that many of these disc bog down with.

Top Tracks: Arbgabdo, Baby, I Cant Hear You

Rating: 7.9/10

Fleshies – Gung Ho! / 2004 Life Is Abuse / 16 Tracks / http://www.fleshies.net / http://www.lifeisabuse.com / Reviewed 10 November 2004

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