Holiday Man

The Flys

Trauma Records, 1998

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Flys_(American_band)

REVIEW BY: Candy North

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/05/1999

This was a really hard recording to peg even after a month of listens. An odd mix of hard rock, funk, R&B and the occasional hard-edge techno pop, these genres are all mixed together haphazardly on this disc which features, no kidding, a bunch of guys who are California surfers and sky divers. Or so their p.r. department has claimed to date.

There's a definite nod to the seventies running strong through this disc with influences as varied and diverse as Hendrix, Sly Stone, Earth, Wind and Fire and the more contemporary Red Hot Chili Peppers at their rock/rap blended best.

I usually complain that bands have too little musical variety to their sound. The Flyz achieve a decent amount of diversity on Holiday Man but sometimes they sacrifice quality in the name of sound originality. Certain songs are too similar sounding such as the title cut "Holiday Man" and "Groove Is Where You Find It," which blend aimlessly into the other as tracks 5 and 6. Even worse is track 7, "The Gods Of Basketball," a musical throwaway which I can't believe made the cut for this disc. In their pseudo techno splendor, these songs are too simplistic to the point of being just plain stupid.

The band breaks out in a really cool, pop tempo number in "Girls Are The Cruelest." In the tradition of most male contemporary pop voices today, women are the root of all evil. Ignoring women seems to be the only valid response as lead singer Adam Paskowitz cries:my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Don't dignify their hatred/

With any kind of response at all"

The battle of the sexes in modern rock is littered with men either hitting the road or acting passive aggressive through their non-responses. Commitment, love and marriage seem to have only a small hope of survival according to all our modern rock voices, the Flys included.

"The Family" emphasizes that family in the traditional, nuclear sense is now replaced by the family of band members, roadies, and loyal supporters. In fact, the live intro to this song suggests the notion that friends and bandmates or coworkers are the family of the nineties. This song best incorporates the R&B influences of the band with James Book's funky bass riffs and some rattling percussive work by drummer Nick Lucerno.

The best cut on the disc is the oft-played alternative hit, "Got You (Where I Want You)", which follows the trials of Joe Average trying to pick up a woman with all the cliched pick-up lines tried. The light, self-deprecating humor in the lyrics are balanced by Book's booming bass line. It's the bass line that completely makes the song great instead of good. What works with the apparent machismo mindset here is the wounded and self- critical lyrics and Paskowtiz's ability to make fun of himself.

A less successful but appealing song is "Take U There" which reinforces the alienation of modern man and his ability to accept that he doesn't have all the answers. I liked the fact that throughout this record the men admit to being weak, silly, and sometimes clueless. Who isn't, man or woman, these days? This alienation is further emphasized throughout the disc with Paskowitz's vocals being filtered to sound as though he's inhuman and at times unreachable.

Another strong cut is the closing "Sexual Sandwich", introduced as "this one's for the ladies" as Paskowitz does a mean Philip Bailey imitation, the falsetto lead singer of Earth, Wind and Fire, while playing on the old Marvin Gaye classic, "Sexual Healing."

With such seventies superstars as a basis, the woman is placed back into the traditional role of an object of sexual desire and not much more. I would normally find this offensive were it not for the band's transparent tongue in cheek approach to life and their sense of humor on the entire disc. Nothing here is too serious or heavy. Hey, if they can make fun of themselves, can't we laugh along as well? And this politically correct crap of the nineties is getting awfully boring.

The Flys seem to be saying don't take life too seriously, have some fun, and in the meantime, to use a seventies phrase, get down and boogie. Good advice in these oh too serious times.

Rating: B+

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© 1999 Candy North and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Trauma Records, and is used for informational purposes only.