Friday, March 4, 2016

Flummox - Selcouth

Murfreesboro-based Flummox are a strange and wonderful entity in the world of music. Their excellent but somewhat spastic and out-there debut 'Phlummoxygen' is perfect proof of that. Having no fears and being completely free from any rules, this trio always do things their way. Combined with excellent musicianship, greatness is not far out of their reach. However, it's a fine line between genius and failure. Flummox are genial but albeit as great as the debut is, it took time to digest and grasp it and the rewards if you give it time are immense. So how does their brand new sophomore album 'Selcouth' fare against the early promise and quirkiness they displayed? Holy hell, Flummox surpasses all that and then some.

Just as on the debut, ‘Selcouth’ provides input from various sources but with a huge difference. Despite the wide palette, it is way more cohesive than its predecessor. Built up on doom, Black Sabbath, Primus, jazz, groove and funk rock as well as progressive metal, it might seem like too much for some people. But trust me, the three amigos – Blake Dellinger, Drew Jones and Jody Lester – tie it all together very nicely. And if that wasn’t enough, the humour which runs through in the lyrics elevates the songs further. Very tongue-in-cheek and funny, to say the least. Take one of my favourite tracks for instance. ‘Bark, Paddle & Ball’ is, in my ears, musically based on The Penguins’ 1954 smash hit ‘Earth Angel’ but with new hilarious lyrics, and it’s quite longer and way rockier too. Just listen and enjoy!

Being a rare album where you can enjoy the songs individually as well as spinning it front to back, I still have found some standout numbers. Cowbells and a thumping bass guitar can never go wrong, especially when they are joined by a fuzzed-out 70’s action movie guitar. I’m talking about ‘A National Selection’, an oddity which eventually turns into a stomping Primus-meet-Jane’s Addiction-meets-doom. ‘Hummingbird Anthem’ is an acid-fueled jazz metal rocker with a good Primus vibe-again – but I’m not complaining because this is badass. Just don’t eat the poor hummingbird! Short and beautiful, the instrumental acoustic piece ‘Nazgul Ashes’ allows my brain to settle down, breathe and get ready for the second part in Flummox’s madness. Starting off in a strong bluesy manner, ‘Depression Heap’ quickly turns into a fast paced, punishing doom crusher. Man, when I think there’s nowhere to hide from the beating, the guys switch to playing superfast 50’s rock. Fantastic and strange…and I love it. Slow and eerie, almost in the vein of funeral doom mixed with good old 80’s death metal, thrash and sludge, ‘Pan’s Daughter’ has me floored right from the start. This one has me smiling from ear to ear as memories from a bygone era washes over me. Last out of favourites is the space rocker ‘Flight Through The Universe-Unibirth’. Clocking in at just over 12 minutes Flummox takes on a journey through galaxies, other-worlds and beyond. Trippy as hell and full of amazing riffs, I just sit back and let the guys work their magic.

Oh, did I say they also have a pure grind tune as well? No? Well ‘Tongue-Saw’ is a pure brutal grind composition that almost gives me an epileptic fit. Insane, totally insane!

The excellent founding duo, Blake Dellinger – bass guitar, lead vocals , keyboards and Drew Jones – guitars, backing vocals, trumpet, are joined by Jody Lester - drums, backing vocals, and this change has paid dividends. Their whole sound has gotten tighter and is more on point, which has enabled them to pull all their ideas together in such a perfect way. Even though all three members are badass musicians, it doesn’t always mean the end result is good. In Flummox’s case however, the band excels way beyond anyone’s expectations. And as a consequence, they have taken giant leaps forward in their quest for world dominance. ‘Selcouth’ is an amazing album by a one-of-a-kind band that I truly, truly like…a lot!


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