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Sweet Defeat

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Album Review

New York sex dealers the Flesh return with their second EP, this time for Gernblandsten and with a more dynamic sound. While Death Connection got the groove right, it still seemed more like a cool kid art project than something real. Sweet Defeat, er, fleshes out the Flesh sound. Yes, there's pose here. But for bands in this fashion-concerned arc of sharp post-punk breaks, pink'n'grey '80s oblivion, and 21st century urban savvy, pose is a necessary intangible. "Sweet Defeat" rocks hot lyrics — "I've got to love it when I rub it!" — over frantically stopping and starting verses and a rowdy chorus. Guitarist Nathan Halpern yelps like a male Carrie Brownstein as Gabriella Zappia's keyboard and vocal drop-ins give the song all kinds of character. It's like Hot Hot Heat covering the Streets' "Let's Push Things Forward." "Night Loop" leans a little too much on the whizzy keys, but ragged rhythm guitar and charmingly lo-fi production keep it from being a shameless synth pop rehash. Live, it's undoubtedly a surefire dance-off creator. Halpern drops into a hip-hop cadence for "Cuts," before a chorus of "woah woah"s and surging synthesizers switches the whole thing into full-on epic mode. Epic? To describe an arty downtown four-piece? Yep. And the resulting remix just makes that chorus soar higher. The Flesh will either die a quick yet good-looking death or release an amazing full-length — it's unclear. But for now there's Sweet Defeat, which joyously turns suburban living rooms into naughty red-light districts.

Biography

Formed: 2002 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Led by guitarist/vocalist Nicholas Halpern (aka Nathan Halpern), the Flesh also included keyboardist Gabriella Zappia, bassist Jason Binnick, and drummer Greg Rogove. The New York City quartet specialized in the kind of slithering, dance beat-infused art punk that had become a genuine indie rock trend in the early 2000s with the success of groups like the Rapture and the Fever. After debuting in July 2003 with the Death Connection EP for Kanine, the Flesh jumped to Gern Blandsten for the Sweet Defeat...
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Sweet Defeat, The Flesh
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