Fleshies are as East Bay punk as it gets, but their most recent album is a sharper version of lo-fi, producing a steadier resonance without too much sanitation. Not only that, but there’s an impressive diversity of sound to this album, ranging from crusty to glam-garage to sludge.
Bite-sized tracks like “The Disadvantages of a High-Fiber Diet” kick out breakneck drums and sparkling bat-out-of-hell chords, while “The Girl with the Chocolate Sparks vs. Dub” bursts into dirty rock swagger. One odd element to Scrape the Walls is the presence of “Half Werewolf, Half Vampire…You Are in BIG Trouble,” an instrumental that reprises itself twice. While these murky intermissions aren’t terribly exciting, they do provide cohesive glue and an epic, rock-opera quality. Another oddity is the cover of Sparks’ “Happy Hunting Ground” sung by punk legend Jello Biafra. With his distinctly exuberant vocals, Biafra adds old-school cred and also illuminates the Fleshies’ playful demeanor. And despite lefty political inclinations, the Fleshies display some witty barbs without resorting to finger wagging. Buried beneath charmingly snotty vocals, jokey song titles and catchy hooks is a healthy dose of sincere defiance. (Erika Fredrickson)
Fleshies play Total Fest Friday, Aug. 10, at 9 PM at the Badlander.