ALBUM RELEASE: FLING – ‘FLING OR DIE’

WORDS BY JOEL MALLEN

Bradford psych rockers FLING play “wonky pop”, according to them, and much more besides. They’ve had incredibly successful debut and sophomore years, rising out of a white-hot arts scene in West Yorkshire, standing out with a committed following to a unique live show and old-school glam rock aesthetic, with all the lipstick, stripy jumpers, dungarees and bright colours that come with it. Working with Lee Smith at Leeds’ Greenmount Studios, FLING record FLING OR DIE, a fruity cocktail combination of reworked singles and new releases, put out into the world on the 22nd February.

In short, the record holds up really well, especially as a profile and introduction to what this band is all about. Kicking off with Welcome To The City, a glam song about a refugee alien running away from his own planet, an opener you really lose yourself in, yet also hear their influences brazenly. Ziggy-era David Bowie and T.Rex spring to mind, with the singers sliding ’70s half rock voice heavily recalling to Marc Bolan (there’s even a bonus “radio-oh-oh” reference a la Starman chucked in there for good measure). This and the entire album set a great tone; jangling acoustic guitars, organs, under a picked indie bass and combined with surreal lyrics and nasal, catchy melodies.

FLING OR DIES’s strength is in the individualism of each track; not enough that it becomes non-cohesive, instead additional sounds and instruments add to the character. Some are absolutely out of left field, like steel drums, recorders, sequenced synthesisers, kalimbas, upright piano, ultra-compressed vocals, and the droning sitar which dominates Revolution. It’s this kind of disrespect for the pop rulebook that gives the album such a life to it, whilst the songwriting absolutely and 100% sticks the landing in setting the mood. Whether it be softly spoken like Je T’aime, cheeky like Just A Dog or Banjo Billy, or tub-thumping like Revolution and Black and White Fibbers.

But it’s more than that: every one of the 11 songs feels intensely involving, with all the energy of a hitchhikers-by-the-fire novella, stored in the crevices of the brain. An album that champions the slightly psychedelic and the bizarre, a cavalcade of expressive joy that leaves you with no choice but to go along for the ride of every song. If you can get your hands and ears on this album, for it is certainly worth the upside down ride.

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