Flies On You
6 March 2015
There is an altogether angrier and louder start to their second album with fearsome scabrous vocal and guitar from Andy and Doug of Flies on You from the get go, and it might have you thinking that the band are bringing more the same, however nothing could be further from the truth. This new one is a package of many different parts.
Those of you who hang around these pages, or indeed listen to my podcasts, will be aware of the fuss that has been made about these chaps. For those not aware of Flies on You they describe themselves as a “DIY Leeds Post Punk Duo” with the emphasis on the DIY part and an insistence on an independent focus and approach. They have built a reputation with limited live appearances, which is to be remedied soon, and some heavy promotion via community/local radio together with other domestic and international radio play and press reviews both on and offline, plus specific appearances on BBC Radio 6 Music and radio shows in the United States. In successive years, Flies On You tracks have featured in the end-of-year “Festive Fifty”, voted for by the listeners of Dandelion Radio, the station whose mission is to perpetuate the legacy of John Peel.
They are Andrew Watkins and Doug Aikman. Andy and Doug formed Flies On You in 2011, intent on playing enthusiastically demented punk-rock, but soon found their post-punk and electronic influences creeping in and affecting things. They released their debut album, “Nothing To Write Home About” in September 2012. 2013 saw the releases of the “Session EP” (originally recorded as a session for Mark Whitby’s Show on Dandelion Radio) and “Josephine Remix EP”, 10 re-interpretations of an audience favourite, which I contributed a track to.
So what we have here is 15 tracks – two of which have had preview exposure (Katie Hopkins In Human Form and Can You Smell That Burning Noise) – varying from the brittle edges of anarcho-punk (Hangdog), via post-punk pop (People Like Pete) , french pop (Ugly Cousins) through dub reggae stylings (Roofspace), spoken word sections (Thank You St Francis) to full-on punk ranting. The variety is more obvious than with the first album, the songs are generally however just as short, in that they are perfect little nuggets of compressed musical energy bursting with ideas both lyrical and musical – “Our Little Secret” being case in point with its varying elements and mix of chiming guitar and terrace vocalising.
There’s a quirky “only from the North” feel to this, but with nods towards more southerly things like The Soft Boys, XTC and an On-U sound dynamic. The excellent “Method Actor” and “Swine Hero” sound like a hyperactive version of Wire, if they had been brought up in Headingly and gone to Leeds College of Art. The collective experience of the two protagonists is distilled into a heady mix, the polemic is strong in parts, Action Stations being the most obvious, but couched in subversive pop melodies which aid in delivering some serious messages in a unique way. The album feels like the great Leeds team from the 1970/1 season – the culture and flair of Giles, Grey and Lorimer mixed with the venom of Charlton, Bremner, and Hunter et al.
All in all an excellent second full length well worthy of your attention.
28/03/15 Leeds Brudenell Social Club, supporting BRIX & THE EXTRICATED (ex of The Fall)
17/04/15 Preston New Continental Club, supporting EDWARD TUDOR-POLE
25/04/15 Oldham Bank Top Tavern, in the company of several other bands for JEFF-FEST