The Fleshtones

Fleshtones Vs. Reality

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The Fleshtones opted to produce themselves (with the help of James A. Ball) for their fourth studio album, Fleshtones Vs. Reality, and it turned out to be an inspired choice; it's one of the best-sounding Fleshtones records ever, bright and lively, with the wild party undertow they so dearly love flowing through nearly every track and the mid-60's ambience unencumbered by unnecessary studio murk. Peter Zaremba is in inspired voice (and his keyboards fit like a glove), Keith Streng's guitar work is near the top of his game, and the rest of the band sounds locked, loaded, and ready to wail. If the songs were as good as the performances and the production, Fleshtones Vs. Reality would rank with the band's finest work, but sadly that's not quite the case; while there are a few winners here, there are just as many obvious miscalculations, and it's hard to say if "Way up Here" rips off the Kinks quite as obviously as "Mirror, Mirror" rips off the Rolling Stones. Significantly, the most memorable tune here is a wild cover of "Treat Her Like a Lady," and the lack of top-shelf material is what prevents this from being one of the band's finest albums -- Fleshtones Vs. Reality will sound great at your next party, but chances are you won't remember much of it the next morning.

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