It’s taken them a few years to get here, but finally after the tease of their two earlier singles (Blackout and Russian Doll) Dead Fly Buchowski release their debut album. It’s hard to believe that the band formed out of the acoustic open mic circuit, because many of the songs grunt and growl in the way an inebriated Hells Angel might at closing time.
This is the sort of stuff that will make you go out and buy leather trousers, douse them in engine oil, grow a large beard and claim that you’re off to ride around America on a Harley. Dead Fly Buchowski have somehow managed to tap into a sound that comes straight out of America’s road movies. If they ever re-made Easy Rider, these boys would be at the head of the queue to write the soundtrack
There are elements of The Doors here for sure, not least in vocalist Roddy Campbell’s drawl, but there’s also a taste of Led Zeppelin (again Campbell’s voice can at times draw comparisons to
The album opens up with their last single Russian Doll, an angular intro lick that gives way to a concentrated full on rock blast that would have Jagger shimmying his hips like he was a young man again. Russian Doll sums up this band at the height of their powers: thundering drums, roaring guitars, and that fantastic gritty voice.
The problem with opening up with such a cracking song is that the rest of the album has to live up to its expectations. It’s not that Dead Fly Buchowski are lacking in drive, it’s just that Russian Doll has such a hook to it that the other tunes here struggle to impose themselves on the listener in such an immediate way.
Repeated listens reveal an album that is worth some perseverance. In other words, Land Of The Rough is what we call a ‘grower’. The kind of album that would be reduced to a four-song download by those seeking immediate thrills – but that’s a different lecture altogether.
There are some great kicks to be found here. Anyway recalls the kind of tunes that Chris Cornell might find locked in his head, while the post punk of Blackout flexes a muscle that has been pumped up by amphetamines and lager. The Way She Goes adds further weight to the idea that there is heavy late ’60s West Coast flavour to the Flies record collection. Whether it was a good idea to include the nine-minute self-indulgent Sun Song remains to be seen. There’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned wig-out to wrap an album up with, but at times it feels a little unfocused, and not a little over long.
There’s enough on this album to suggest that Dead Fly Buchowski have what it takes to create a few waves. Campbell’s voice and Russian Doll alone make this album well worth a listen. If you have the time and patience to let a record grow on you, then you could do a lot worse. If it’s instant pop you’re after, best head to the land of smooooth.