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Brooklyn Sound Solution

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Album Review

Over 30 years into their career as the prime exemplars of Super Rock, the Fleshtones have their style worked out pretty well by now, but thankfully they're still capable of surprising us every once in a while, and Brooklyn Sound Solution is not quite the album most fans would expect from the Fleshtones circa 2011. After a bracing show of strength on Do You Swing?, Beachhead, and Take a Good Look, the Fleshtones ease back on the hard-swinging garage-influenced rock that's their stock in trade and indulge their passion for classic rhythm & blues on these sessions; several blues and soul covers are on deck (including an admirably scruffy take on "I Wish You Would" and a chopped-and-channeled remake of the Beatles' "Day Tripper" that trades the psychedelic undertow for a gritty R&B attack), most of the originals are in a similar stylistic groove ("You Took a Bite of My Soul" sounds like some messed-up Northern soul oldie), and the set favors instrumentals over vocal numbers (though the golden voices of Peter Zaremba and Keith Streng are still featured on several tunes). The band also features a guest guitarist on most cuts — Lenny Kaye, who between his long tenure in the Patti Smith Group and his status as the man who compiled the original Nuggets collection, is one of the few people whose cool quotient is probably higher than that of the Fleshtones. With Kaye on board, Brooklyn Sound Solution puts its emphasis less on songs and more on the interplay between the musicians, and the feel is loose but emphatic, with many of the tracks sounding like the product of a jam session, complete with buzzing amps and a sense that this material wasn't rehearsed to death before it was recorded. But if this isn't the usual Super Rock session, it shows that the Fleshtones can still rock hard, and "You Give Me Nothing to Go On," "Rats in My Kitchen," and "Solution #1" wail as strong and as powerfully as you'd expect from this combo, and even when they're chasing their muse, they sound like four guys who've played together long enough to anticipate one another's moves. Which is to say, the Fleshtones sound like a great band on Brooklyn Sound Solution, and they're not afraid to take some chances and have fun with them, while bringing the audience along for a satisfying ride.


Formed: 1976 in Queens, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Often tagged as garage rock revivalists, the Fleshtones mix the fuzz guitar and Farfisa organ sounds of that genre with rockabilly, '50s and '60s R&B, and surf into a potent retro stew the group likes to call "super rock." The group formed in 1976 in Queens, New York with vocalist/keyboardist Peter Zaremba, guitarist Keith Streng, bassist Jan Marek Pakulski, and drummer Bill Milhizer and aimed to return rock & roll to the simplicity and unselfconsciousness of the '50s and early '60s. (The group was...
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Brooklyn Sound Solution, The Fleshtones
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