Album Reviews

Still Flyin’ – Never Gonna Touch The Ground

(Moshi Moshi) UK release date: 6 April 2009

When there’s a recession you’d expect the music to reflect the mood of the moment. Look back to The Specials and the doom that oozed out of the speakers courtesy of Ghost Town and you wind up thinking that this is the kind of music that not only speaks to a generation but also sums up the mood of a nation.

For a band to do that these days, they would not only have to speak for a nation, they’d have to carry the burden of a world on its back. Kind of like Charles Atlas had he gone into psychiatry rather than joining that most exclusive club of cosmic strongmen.

So what are the options? Well, you could aim for the zeitgeist. You could try to speak for everyone and rage against an entire economic system and have a pop at your old maths teacher while you’re at it.

You Could. Or…

Or you could get high, high, high. You could free your mind, leave the planet, orbit around the bicep of that intergalactic colossus and giggle your tits off while you’re at it.

It goes without saying that Still Flyin’ have left existential angst and political ideologies far behind. They’re out there beyond the stratosphere preaching the gospel of Hammjamm – their version of Parliament‘s P-Funk. When the world’s fucked and sinking fast, you might as well have a party, right?

Never Gonna Touch The Ground is as good an album as any to get the party started. Raise your glasses and swing as if being blown around by a friendly breeze to the laid back reggae of opening track Never Gonna Touch The Ground. The fun band ska of Forever Dudes should get those feet moving despite not sounding entirely convincing.

The indie meets funk on Good Thing It’s A Ghost Town Around Here manages to also take in a bit of gospel and new wave as it goes on. If that doesn’t work for you, try Act Of Jamming, which sounds as if it’s about to introduce The Blues Brothers to the stage before rapidly evolving into a rocksteady swing that mimics Somebody To Lean On. The importance for Still Flyin’ is all in jamming and getting lost in music and they practically implore you to join them as you’re listening.

The Hottchord Is Struck mixes up ’80s David Bowie and chucks in some cutesy backing vocals and a guitar run that wouldn’t be out of place on a Rick Springfield track. No Go-Kart Ideas perhaps sums up this album. It’s basically a well intentioned but flawed vocal paean to the concept of Hammjamm (which I’m fairly sure is getting baked and writing music). It’s fun, like all of the songs on Never Gonna Touch The Ground, but it’s just ever so slightly amateur in execution.

Still Flyin’ are the kind of band that would be fantastic at what are irritatingly known as boutique festivals. Laying back in a field on a Sunday, sun warming you gently, beer in hand and spliff in gob, with Still Flyin’ playing would be about as good as it gets. They’d probably steal the day. On record, it doesn’t quite work somehow. But if you imagine you’re in that field while it’s playing, if you take a trip away from reality for just a moment, then Never Gonna Touch The Ground makes perfect sense.

It is what it is. It’s a record for parties, for escaping the grind, and for enjoying your relaxing drug of choice. It’s nice to have an alternative to anger, confusion and frustration once in a while. Maybe there will be plenty of bands that’ll cover those bases in the next few months. For now, let’s encourage Mr Atlas to chuck his orb off into space so we can start again from scratch.

“‘Ere Charlie. Pop this on, smoke that, and get your drawing board out; we’ve got work to do. You’re gonna love Aerosmith, Take Me To The Other Side – yeah, it’s like cute half baked glockenspiel pop… I think we should definitely make something like a duck billed platypus again…”

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Still Flyin’ – Never Gonna Touch The Ground