Put on The Flesh and shed your dogmatic skin. The birth of the pragmatic antichrist has come. It is soulful and seductive; a charming antithesis of today’s rock. These newborn Brooklynites, The Flesh, take the enigmas of spiritual redemption and bump it into organic overdrive. Their recently released self-titled disc is everything rock is lacking. The Flesh have laid the path, and prophesized, to take the world with their punk goes R&B beats and devilish beauty.
The disc combines 2003’s Death Connection EP and 2004’s Sweet Defeat EP as well as adding six new chapters in the book of The Flesh. The full length intends to entice us with the “fuck the world” attitude that the four-piece is known for while accurately describing the world, in “Foes,” as belonging to them for the fucking.
The Flesh is what is lacking on the skinless body of the indie rock movement in the US today. This neo-new wave rock tends to be energetic and alluring, although not necessarily of a high difficulty level in regards to music quality, but habitually lacking in depth lyrically, examples of this being The Kinison’s What Are You Listening To? and Ima Robot’s Public Access EP. The Flesh not only adds jazzy R&B to the wave but also compile an intricate and despondent idea of religious redemption. The Flesh took note on the funky sounds of Cursive and the electronic sound of Head Automatica to fuse a new sound. The Flesh are dreamily original and cover the basic muscle and bones of rock with a sultry, pale white finishing.
“Love Your Fate” is baptizing, initiating a physical connection with the listener. Everything that is traditional is wiped away and the world is “born anew” with the upbeat yet melodramatic opening. The idea that The Flesh play upbeat but sincere music may seem like an anomaly but be assured that at the initial strum of the guitar string the lie becomes an enchanting reality. The vocals of Nathan Halpem are belligerent and solo until the fourth track, “Sweet Defeat,” when keyboardist Gabriella Zappia affirms not only her already potent classical piano training but also her softly strong vocal stylings. She is present on a few tracks in the disc and adds her own flavor to the religious experience as a whole. The band is rounded out with Jason Binnick grooving the base riffs and Gregory Rogove on the drums. The Flesh end on the “Death Ship sailing out,” ending the circular turmoil present on all previous tracks concerning the nature of humanity and redemption in the end of a life.
With the rise in popularity of dance punk or post punk or whatever it is labeled, or whatever else I have called it throughout this one article alone, The Flesh, unlike many previous religious leaders, are not too far ahead of their time. Like spiritual philosophers in the music world with a great potential for influence, they are refreshing and will be a welcomed change into the current scene. Maybe The Flesh’s debut full length should be called spiritual punk but in any case, the holy awakening has occurred and the messiah is in The Flesh.
(Gern Blandsten Records)