The Flesh

The Flesh

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Quite possibly the only synth rock band equally inspired by goth and hip-hop, the Flesh don't really expand on their sex and death-obsessed sound on their self-titled debut album. In fact, fully half of The Flesh was already exposed on the band's Death Connection and Sweet Defeat EPs. Not surprisingly, the older songs are still some of the Flesh's strongest work, even though the album's bigger, slicker sound doesn't do them any favors. The band's horror-show keyboards, spare beats, and spy-theme guitars, along with Nathan Halpern's love-it-or-hate-it raspy sneer of a voice, work best on "Cuts," "Death Connection" (which slant rhymes "salvation" with "salivating"), "Sweet Defeat," and "Foes," the latter two of which feature additional vocals by Gabriella Zappia, whose trilling alto is a welcome break from Halpern's often blustery delivery. The Flesh's new songs are just as theatrical as their older ones, yet somehow aren't quite as memorable: "Love Your Fate," "Gallows," and "Lonely Little Hunter" are more choppy than catchy. On the other hand, "The Lack" and "Fall to Heaven" make the most of the inherent camp of the Flesh's sound; along with the album closing "Death Ship," the sweeping melodrama of these songs succeeds where the band's more overt rock fails. Not great, not terrible, The Flesh is a solidly middling work, which is arguably more disappointing than a bad album from a band with such a distinctive sound.

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