Review by David Bowling
Someone once dubbed the Flamin’ Groovies as “the best rock & roll band you never heard of.” Formed in 1965 as a classic San Francisco underground psychedelic rock band by Cyral Jordan; they incorporated some power pop into their sound with the addition of Chris Wilson during the early 1970’s. They have now released their first studio album in over two decades with Fantastic Plastic.
Their new release is a guitar album at its foundation. Wilson and Jordan are both excellent guitarists and producer J. Jaffe contributes some steel and slide guitar as well.
The album is graced by ten new compositions cutesy of Jordan and Wilson. They wisely do not try to re-invent themselves but build on their past. “What The Hell’s Goin’ On” is emblematic of their guitar driven rock approach with the vocals piled on top and is easily recognizable to anyone who has followed the band. “Just Like A Hurricane” finds them moving in a blues direction. Songs such as “I’d Rather Spend My Time With You,” “Let Me Rock,” and “Crazy Macy” are all well written and produced rock and roll.
There are two cover songs in addition to the ten original compositions. They move NRBQ’s “I Want You Bad” in a pop direction. The Beau Brummels were another unappreciated band from the era and they put some energy into their “Don’t Talk To Strangers.”
All of the songs are concise and have a tightness and have little wasted effort.
The original artwork by Cyril Jordan is a tribute to Mad Magazine writer Jack Davis. I wish I could see it on a regular vinyl side album as it is a wonderful nostalgic trip back to another era.
The Flaming Groovies have always deserved better commercially. Fantastic Plastic picks up where they left off as it presents high quality rock and roll.