The Flakes – Back To School (CD)

Where fellow label mate SLA created a style of psychedelic/dingy-rock for their album, The Flakes have a Who meets Monkees type of sound; the first track even throws a little surf guitar into the mix for good measure. “C’Mon and Swim” continues this same general sound, but scales back the explosive nature of “That’s All” for a more balanced sound. In a sense, the style of music that The Flakes come out with is the same general type that would influence bands like The Ramones just a decade or so later; paradoxically, the band is influenced by the same bands that other individuals in their genre were influenced by. The guitar virtuosity present in a track like “I Fell In Love” seems to look forward a few years to bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, while still stylistically sounding like a sixties rock act.

Each of the tracks passes by like a song that has been on the radio for forty years; “Back To School” is at the top of the heap. “Back To School” reminds me of the scene from Back to the Future where Marty McFly is wowing the “Under the Sea” dance with eir guitar riffs; the ones present here are of that caliber. “Open Up Your Door” is the next big hit, with the vocals of John sounding like a very young Mick Jagger during the track, and the backing vocals bolstering eir wails at all the right points. It is rare that a band can rattle off such a string of hits; what The Flakes do with their “Back To School” is essentially what The Beatles or Elvis did with their #1 hits collection, even though The Flakes have only this album to choose tracks from. For those fans of rock, sixties rock, or of good music all together, The Flakes come forth strongly with all fourteen tracks on “Back To School”.

The band took seven years to complete this album, and I think I could be patient enough to allow them another seven to create the follow-up. When an album is so polished while still having soul to it, one has to see that it is a special disc. Even covering “Stupid Girl” (by the Rolling Stones) on this disc, The Flakes show that they can subjugate pretty much anything to their sound and have it not stand too far out as an alien body. See The Flakes live and pick up their album; regardless of which way one’s influences turn, there will be something to like in the band.

Top Tracks: Back To School, Talk About You

Rating: 7.8/10

The Flakes – Back To School / 2005 Dollar Records / 14 Tracks / http://www.theflakes.net / http://www.dollarrrecord.com / Reviewed 26 December 2005

[JMcQ]

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