New York's underground cult-phenom THE FLESH Announce Details on Their Forthcoming New Album, “Firetower,” out May 1st on Gern Blandsten!
“"Dirty, sexy, sinister, and above all, fun." – Filter Magazine
“The Flesh has produced a distinct sound...both beautifully soulful, funky, and a bit creepy.” - CNN
* Stream the song "Firetower" HERE! *
On The Flesh’s new LP Firetower, this “fearless quartet” (Blogcritics) expands on and experiments with its sound, for an addictive set of alluring art-pop anthems: Switching up the boy/girl vocal attack of their debut, it spotlights the passionate vocals of keyboardist Gabriella Zappia; building beyond the signature “punk-goes-R&B” sound of their early work, it adds driving, melodic punk (a la The Pretenders), sly rhythmic changeups and key changes, searing guitars, and sweeping pop melodies. Tied together with an elliptical narrative thread of illicit love, Firetower’s delightfully diverse 11 songs trace an emotional journey through innocence and towards experience, for the band’s most direct, compelling work to date.
When the band previewed some of the new songs on a short American tour last month, CITYBEAT’s Mike Breen wrote: “The evolution of their sound is far from over and crossover success may be imminent,” praising the title track as “classic, dramatic Pop” with “sweeping strings” and “hip hop-ready beats,” and The Cradle, the Brothel, and the Bible School as a “sensual, propulsive, sure-fire hit in the waiting.”
The album opens with the rousing, guitar-driven, one-two punch of The Truant, and The Cradle, the Brothel and the Bible School, whose driving riffs and soaring vocals evoke an innocent yearning for love and escape. Well-placed, off-kilter time signatures give the latter track a glorious lift.
As the album continues, a dark undercurrent begins to emerge beneath the catchy melodies. At once romantic and foreboding, Firetower is a tail of illicit seduction set to a string-laden, pulsing pop track. The driving, dual-vocal anthem World to Come runs together romantic obsession with cult fanaticism, while the escapist In Paradise evokes The Flesh’s early work, with skittering R&B beats and throbbing punk choruses.
Compulsion pairs a Rick James groove with Lynchian atmospherics and sticky pop melodies, while Justice fuses drummer Pete Angevine’s dub beats to doom-laden strings (conducted by bassist Jason Binnick). The driving goth-punk of Loyale leads into the breathless Kelis-meets-Misfits groove of Morning Sickness and the triumphant, avant-garage of Hydra & Hercules. The wistful, unadorned ballad Cross the Ocean brings the record to a poignant close.
History, Releases, and Production Details
The Flesh split their time between Brooklyn and Philadelphia. The band formed in New York City in 2002 after newly relocated Texas native Gabriella Zappia caught New Yorker Nat Halpern and Philadelphians Pete Angevine and Jason Binnick, performing in an early incarnation of the band at a local underground club. They have released 2 EPs and a debut LP, praised in the pages of such publications as SPIN, the Village Voice, and Vice Magazine.
From 2004-2006, THE FLESH toured the United States and Europe, appearing w/ Death from Above 1979, Hot Hot Heat, Man Man, IQU, The Dirtbombs, Oxford Collapse, Suicide, Glass Candy, Xiu Xiu, These Arms Are Snakes, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Dresden Dolls, Tom Tom Club, and many more.
Upon returning home from a European tour in 2006, The Flesh began work on Firetower. Their only plan going into the sessions, Halpern says, was “to do things that would be fresh and new for us.” They worked with co-producer, engineer, and longtime friend Chris Sanchez at Studio Sanchez Dos in Bridgeport, CT, where they experimented with new approaches: Gabriella sang and layered lead vocals, Nat and Pete utilized increased multi-track capacity for guitar and percussion overdubs, and Jason brought up some classical musician friends, leading them through string and horn arrangements on several songs.
Firetower was then mixed by the band’s good friend Joel Hamilton (Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Book of Knots, Beauty Pill) at Studio G in Brooklyn NY, and mastered by Fred Kevorkian at Absolute Audio in New York, NY.
The Flesh is:
Pete Angevine: Drums, percussion
Jason Binnick: Bass
Nat Halpern: Guitar, vocals
Gabriella Zappia: Vocals, keyboards
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