Flashy Python: Skin And Bones

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Flashy Python 

Written By:

Brad Kelly

04th September 2009
At 01:00 GMT

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Led by Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and joined by Toby Leamnan and Scott McMicken of Dr. Dog, Matt Barrick of The Walkmen and Billy Dufala of Man Man, Flashy Python is a mismatched supergroup with a rather poor name that came out of nowhere and have already digitally released their debut album.

Whilst CYHSY are currently in limbo, it seems Ounsworth has been up to a fair few projects with this and a new solo album also due later this year. So what of this new venture? What of the first thing to come out of Ounsworth since 2007's brilliant but troubled Some Loud Thunder?

He definitely still retains that unique vocal tone found on CYHSY records and though it's great to hear him again, it just doesn't carry that same punch to the face that his earlier material openly offered. Maybe we've just gotten used to his warbling, melancholic swoops and dives but it seems less impressive this time round than ever before.

Experimentalism has been upped a fair few notches too in places and again, it's interesting but not always entertaining.

An example; Intro track Let Us Hallucinate Together (a fantastic title first and foremost) is a hyperactive, abrasive slice of alternative musicianship with guitars thundering in and out whenever they please, and a warped rhythm buried underneath gallons of fuzz. Just when satisfaction settles in, they over-cook it, throwing in needless trumpets and horns and convoluting the previously respectable melody.

It happens again right at the end of track two This Lady Is A Ghost, slowing the music to a halt and revelling in a bit nonsensical vocal warping for a short while. Surely by now this kind of amateur add-on is something a man like Ounsworth would laugh at instead of embrace? Apparently not.

Please don't mistake our disappointment for dislike as, quite the contrary, it's still quite an experience to listen to and evaluate. Strangely hypnotic mid-album droner Obscene Queen Bee is better than anything before it and uses subtlety as its main key to success. Vastly reserved instrumentation ebbs and flows gently underneath those ever recognisable nasal whines. "Really i had only meant, that we should never get so sentimental" he admits in the last verse as truth and an indefinable poignancy drips from every note. It's a stand-out track just for its atmospherics and wonderful use of musical repetition.

It's in no way a terrible record, it just skims the dangerous waters of mediocrity one too many times to fully forgive and accept. There was ground to be built upon that still lays bare and the band still seem too unsettled and directionless instead of sturdy and determined. It's not like they're not confident, they just seem to waste it instead of embrace it. It really seems obsolete to include such forgettable, yawn inducing songs like Cattle's New Clothes, especially when you've only got eight songs to work with in the first place and especially when each separate member of the band has made more rewarding material than this.

Bold, confused, respectable in its intent, a little too one-dimensional in its totality but worth the purchase if you need your fix of freaky experimental rock.

Rating:  6 / 10

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