Flamin Groovies “Fantastic Plastic”
The Flamin Groovies are arguably the very first power pop-punk hybrid band, pre-dating both The Ramones and The Jam. And 24 years after their last album, Lead Groovie Cyril Jordan is joined by singer/guitarist Chris Wilson, bassist George Alexander and drummer Victor Penalosa to revive this classic band. And they definitely prove that you are never too old to rock and roll.
Opening with an R&B influenced “What the Hell’s Goin’ On,” its got a classic Stones influence and plenty of attitude. Their voices are a bit more grizzled but the guitar skills of Jordan and Wilson have not diminished as “End Of The World” and “Let Me Rock” are on par with classic Groovies cuts. They cover NRBQ’s “I Want You Bad” and similarly shine with that jangling Rickenbacker. Another highlight is “Crazy Macy,” a chugging rocker with the classic “Slow Down” riff that allows shedding solos in between the chorus. But the band sounds subdued on other tunes; “Fallen Star,” “Lonely Hearts” and a tame cover of the Beau Brummels’ “Don’t Talk to Strangers” just aren’t that memorable. The Byrdsian jangle of “Cryin’ Shame” while very pleasant, won’t make you forget “Shake Some Action.” Still, this is a keeper for Groovies fans and lovers of classic rock.
Action Skulls “Angels Hear”
A long-term musical project finally arrives; Vicki Peterson (The Bangles), her husband John Cowsill (The Cowsills, The Beach Boys touring band) and Bill Mumy (Barnes & Barnes, America) combine to make the band Action Skulls. They met at a family Christmas party in 2013 where the band originated, as a meeting of musical minds.
It has a potpourri of styles, opening with the beautiful jangle pop of “Mainstream,” Vicki and John both sing on this catchy tune. It changes to a somber mood with “If I See You In Another World,” resembling a bluesy folk tune with nice harmonies mixed in. But there are other compelling songs here, “The Luckiest Man Alive” takes time to get to the chorus, but its a got a great twisted composition. Many songs have a slow burning quality, not quite blues rock but just enough to stick like on “Standing On A Mountain” and the almost country “Feed My Hungry Heart.” Overall, it will appeal to fans who are looking for something different and familiar at the same time. Check it out.