Flesh for fantasy

fleshen fellaFMR008 - Fleshen Fella (Fantastic Mess Records)

This band was formerly known as Fleshlight, comprises four actors and played live (in drag) at the Gasometer in Melbourne precisely once before recording this bunch of songs, sans overdubs, and promptly disappearing.

This is a seven-inch EP of five songs on a boutique label.

Spoiler alert: There's much more to this story but don't read on if you want the mystery to be preserved...

Let's join the dots. Fleshen Fella features 19-year-old Earl Cave on vocals. Yes, that Earl Cave. There's always a heavy cross to bear for the offspring of the famous - especially when they enter a similar field as their parent - but from the limited media that's crossed this desk, budding actor Earl seems to be coping well.

Fleshen Fella was put together as a bonding exercise for members of the cast of "True History of the Kelly Gang" during shooting in Australia last year. Cave was joined in Fleshen Fella by George Mackay, himself a fast rising film star in the UK.

The unavoidable $64 Question is does Earl sound anything ike his dad? The answer is: Remotely so. There are no credits on this EP and no attempt is made to exploit the familial link. Let's give the lad some credit for that. The media release is bereft of this back story, which was pieced together via some online detective work.

Judged on its musical merits, "FMR0088" is amateurish, lo-fi punk. You wouldn't expect much else. It's untutored - and deliberately so. Its songs stagger like a pisshead with a tray full of cocktails trying to make it to the other side of a crowded pub who spills his payload over a table of diners.

There's a vein of angst running through Fleshen Fella's music and if you're from Sydney, you might say it's very Melbourne. Of course that would be a very rockist thing to say, but you know what they say about actors in bands. Of course your own shelf of 30 Odd Foot of Grunts CDs might say something different.

"All Tied Up" barely gets out of first gear before tripping over and rolling around in a pool of its own sick. "Desperation" is much better: skittish punk riding a trail of fuzzy guitar and a vocal that's, er, desperate. There's a tinge of the old Birthday Party Nick in the vocal that's impossible to avoid but ya gotta think it's not deliberate.

"Psyche" is bullish garage punk with a central lyric: "Does anyone understand what she's thinking? Oh, fuck you, I do". "Imonia Blues" is about a death in custody in a drunk tank of a bloke named Blake set to a conventional blues rock feel. The guitarist is struggling. The minimalist, psych-tinged "Untitled" that follows sounds like Wire on a subdued day.

Can't say I'll play this often but it is what it is and will sell out in five minutes. Buy vinyl here and digital via Bandcamp.

martiniratingmartinirating1/2



 

Tags: bad seeds, nick cave, fantastic mess records, fleshen fella, fleshlight, FMR008, earl cave, george mackay

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