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Do You Swing?

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Album Review

Some folks like to say that history is cyclical, and it certainly supports this theory that just as a bunch of young bucks have (once again) come along to say that rock & roll is getting stale and needs a good dose of high attitude and fuzz-tone energy, the Fleshtones — who've been saying the same thing since 1977 — have re-emerged to remind the world how this whole "super rock" thing is supposed to be done. Maybe they don't dress quite as sharp as the Hives, or pose as well as the Strokes, or get worshiped by the British press quite like the White Stripes, but one spin of the Fleshtones' 2003 platter Do You Swing? proves that if you wanna get a rock & roll dance party started, Peter Zaremba and company are still your finest one-stop shopping place. And perhaps having some fresh competition (not to mention facing the fear of being outclassed by bands fronted by guys who weren't even alive when the Fleshtones played their first gigs) has been just what these folks have needed, because Do You Swing? is one of the strongest Fleshtones albums to date, boasting material every bit as potent as what they served up on Roman Gods and Hexbreaker, and sounding fresh, energetic, and gloriously alive. Rick Miller from Southern Culture on the Skids produced Do You Swing? at his home studio, and the results have a bright, punchy sound that never gets in the way of the reverb and/or fuzz, and the vibe is at once loose and perfectly focused. And from the Swingin' Medallions-esque "I'm Back Again," the R&B-flavored "Hard Lovin' Man," the tribute to rock's greatest chord changes, "1-4-5," and their ode to living in one of Brooklyn's least-gentrified neighborhoods, "Destination Greenpoint," the Fleshtones have come up with a batch of top-shelf songs that show them to their advantage. It would be silly to say the Fleshtones are back, since they never went away, but after 26 years in the game, Do You Swing? shows they've still got the rock — and if anything, they're getting better at serving it up. Pour yourself a Blue Whale and check this disc out pronto.


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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Do You Swing?, The Fleshtones
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