Fabricoh (online, 10/8/14)
In my recent review of The Tills’ Howlin’ EP I remarked that some things just take a while. Here, writing about another Asheville band, I’d appreciate it if you’d allow me yet one more hackneyed expression: better late than never.
A lot of outsiders see Asheville as a hippy town, a great big resonated bong chamber of jam bands and wayward old-time musicians. While this observation isn’t exactly wrong it’s far from the whole picture. There are a lot of punks in Asheville and, perhaps more importantly, a lot of punks who are really into metal and classic rock.
These kids are the black lumps of coal that keep Asheville grounded in the face of its loopy-doopy spiritualism and ill-informed positivity. Out of all the great downer bands from Asheville’s underground scene Flies Around It was always my favorite.
Featuring members of super-cranky hardcore traditionalists Sunshine SS and gear grubbing stoner geeks Soft Opening, Flies Around It combined noise, volume, speed and experimentation in a way that was exciting and never pretentious. Perhaps more emo than anyone cared to acknowledge, they really meant what they played. Their live shows never failed to prove their conviction.
So it’s appropriate that now we have All These Years of Development, the band’s first full-length release and a warts and all document of their final live show.
For sure there’s something bittersweet about the title of this tape. While Flies Around It’s 2011 7” was a fine disc it didn’t quite capture the abject force the band later achieved with drummer Tony Plichta. Their swansong, All These Years showcases their final, and I think best, lineup.
I find hardcore entertaining enough in practice but it was Flies Around It’s wide mix of influences that made them interesting to me. On this cassette you’ll hear galloping, Thin Lizzy-esque anthems on tracks like “Sleep Revolution” and “?!” There are enough guitar effects here to make Sonic Youth blush and there’s enough righteous anger to land these guys squarely in Hüsker Dü territory. As far as bummer jams go “No More Sunny Days” is one of the most beautiful ones you’re likely to hear.
Make no mistake, Flies Around It is not for those who can’t take extreme volume or a few choice trips into the void. If you have any doubts about the dire sensibilities of this band then feel free to mull over the internal art of this tape, the iconic photo of Mary the Circus Elephant (look it up).
I was disappointed that this band called it quits but hey, I get it. At least now, more than a year after their demise, we have All These Years of Development to remember them by. All too often promising bands dissolve into oblivion simply because they never get it together enough to put out something definitive. I’m glad Flies Around It, at the final hour, avoided such a fate.
-Cyrus Atkins (originally posted here)