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Monday, July 25, 2011

Flesh For Lulu - Long Live the New Flesh

Released : 1987
Genre : Alternative Rock, Gothic Rock, New Wave
Label : Beggars Banquet
Producer(s) : Mike Hedges (tracks: 2-11), Stephen Hague (tracks: 1)

Determined that an American breakthrough was now within their grasp, Flesh for Lulu gambled the farm on Long Live the New Flesh. In the short term it was a smart move and placed the band right on the verge of stardom, but in the long term it was, in retrospect, suicide. Fed up with the British press' sniping Stones' comparisons, the group severed their strongest roots, leaving their U.K. fanbase to wither away to nothingness. This drastic pruning was deemed necessary for Flesh to take hold and flourish in the U.S. In an altered reality kind of way, New and its predecessor, Big Fun City, correspond virtually track for track, with the rockers frontloaded and the softer numbers mainly in the second half. But the title tells the whole story, and indeed launched a very new Flesh upon the world. Gone were the masses of R&B riffs and punky rhythms that fired their last album; in came a new arena sound. The pop/rock melodies still remained, but were now fleshed out (so to speak) with synths, female backing vocalists, big rock guitar, and a Gary Glitter stomping beat. A quick comparison of "Siamese Twist" and Fun's "Vaguely Human" illustrates the point. The latter's a punk-fueled R&B pop/rocker; the former's a punk-fueled R&B pop/rocker laden with a thumping beat, searing lead guitar, and braying brass. Of course, the British found this new Flesh bloated to obesity, but this was what America wanted, and the band were happy to dish it up. Even the wonderful "Postcards From Paradise" (the "Baby Hurricane" of Live), is as chubby as a cherub, beefed up by the repetitive, pounding bass drum, and blend of Flesh's previous boisterousness. The U.S., of course, loved it. But even while toning done their punkier sound and R&B riffs, at least the band remained diverse. Going down Fun's genre checklist, Live also includes country & western hybrids, a bit of blues, a nod to U2 ("Sleeping Dogs"), and a closing experimental track. Oddly enough, the latter actually returns Flesh to their own post-punk roots, albeit in an extremely twisted way. So what Fun was for the Brits -- a classic pop/rock album in an indie mold -- Live was for Americans -- a classic pop/rock album in an arena mold. Pick your poison, both records are excellent, but few but the most die-hard fans will find them both equally appealing.

Tracks

1. Lucky Day
2. Postcards From Paradise
3. Hammer Of Love
4. Siamese Twist
5. Sooner Or Later
6. Good For You
7. Crash
8. Way To Go
9. Sleeping Dogs
10.Dream On Cowboy


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