The Flesh Eaters (from the album I Used to be Pretty available on Yep Roc Records)
Los Angeles band The Flesh Eaters have in their four-decade career been a musical vehicle to back the Avant-punk poetry of Chris Desjardins, aka Chris D. Labeled a punk-supergroup, their band line-up from 1981, featuring Dave Alvin (solo, The Blasters), John Doe (solo, X), D.J. Bonebrake (solo, X), Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) and Bill Batemen (The Blasters), have reconvened for the recent release,I Used To Be Pretty, The Flesh Eaters first proper full-length in fifteen years.
For any long-time practioners of punk, it may be a challenge to deliver angst and social questioning with the same heft as in Los Angeles circa 1977 yet Chris D still comes armed with plenty of vocal fodder, heavy with grit and boundless with hopeless honesty. The band can charge when necessary; Steve Berlin’s bluesy saxophone chugging along while Dave Alvin’s guitar, whether chopping out a rhythm or ripping through a solo, are quick and stabbing with the vibraphone of D. J. Bonebrake remaining a great and untraditional addition to a rock rhythm section. “Black Temptation” as opener for I Used to be Pretty sets a dark mood, delivered with a slightly weepy lyric reading. “My Life to Live” has a big anthemic introduction as well as a big horn-hook while “Miss Muerte” starts on a light note with the vibraphone, the melody soon taken over by another big Dave Alvin guitar riff, with Chris D questioning, criticizing and exclaiming that ‘he’s sick of all you angry people, killing each other for the sake of your god’. The original work of The Flesh Eaters keeps its uniqueness intact while the band also dips into covers with Jeffery Lee Pierce’s tune from The Gun Club, “She’s Like Heroin to Me”, and forgotten Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac cut, “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)”. The Flesh Eaters wear the punk supergroup label thrust upon them well, and I Used to Be Pretty is indeed super. (by Bryant Liggett)
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