The Fleshtones

Roman Gods

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In the 1980s, of the dozens of bands who were mining the sounds of '60s garage rock for inspiration, few were smarter or wittier about it than the Fleshtones; lots of folks might have sounded more like the Knaves or the Remains or whatever band they chose to embrace as a sonic template, but Peter Zaremba, Keith Streng, and their partners in Super Rock were able to communicate heart, soul, and actual thought instead of a mere awestruck nostalgia. The Fleshtones could also rock pretty hard, and were willing to mix up their influences a bit (not many nuevo garage bands would pick Lee Dorsey as the source of their album's sole cover tune). There's never been a real substitute for seeing the Fleshtones live (not even their live album quite fills the quota), but Roman Gods does a fine job of getting their ideas down on plastic with muscle, enthusiasm, and creative thinking, and it boasts several of their best songs, including the hard-charging "R-I-G-H-T-S," the moody "Shadow Line," the rollicking "I've Gotta Change My Life" (good advice!), and the title cut, easily the finest Kingsmen tune ever written by some guys from New York 20 years after "Louie Louie" was a hit. It's cool, it's not dumb, and it sounds great at a party -- Roman Gods is everything you've ever wanted in a garage revival album, and more!

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