Album Review: The Fling, ‘When The Madhouses Appear’

25 Aug

By Nate Jackson

If there’s one constant description applied Long Beach band The Fling, it’s that they come off more like nostalgic archivists than aspiring breakout artists. But given the highly (re)creative climate already embraced by the music scene around them, that’s not a bad label to have. Especially since they’re one of few acts we can think of that care enough about the sounds they borrow to actually get them right. The track list of their debut full-length, When The Madhouses Appear (out Aug. 31 on the band‘s own label, Lady Monk Records) progresses through a timeline of pop and folk’s most iconic eccentrics.

Conjuring a harmony-heavy amalgam of acid trip adventurous plotted by bands like The Beatles, Beach Boys, Pink Floyd and The Pixies, The Fling are proud subscribers to the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Songs like “Friend of Mine” and “Strangers” open the record with a well recognized blend of acoustic twang squeezed over ambling pop rhythms and tremolo-tinged psychedelics.

Fortunately, being unapologetically true to their influences doesn’t mean the band can’t orchestrate some impressive creative strokes. Engaging in sweeping, unbridled jam sequences on “Wanderingfoot” or the “Cold Comfort,“ (an extended version of a song from their 2008 Ghost Dance EP) the band unleashes head-rattling stampedes of organized noise. Meanwhile, the shared vocals of lead singer/guitarist Dustin Lovelis his little bro/bassist Graham Lovelis, keyboard/guitarist Justin Roeland and drummer Justin Ives act as the glue that holds the whole thing together. And when they’re not relying on harmonies to keep the wind in their sails, bouncy piano lines and tried and true pop melodies (proudly employed on the radio-ready track “Out of My Head”) inject infectious energy surges in well-produced, three-minute bursts.

Though most of the songs found on this album have been a steady part of the band’s set list for a while, fans of the band should be able to appreciate the use of extra instrumentation–from sleigh bells to lap steel guitar–that enhance some of the country-influence of “No Sleep” and “Devil’s Man” as the band continue more contemplative crooning that tap into the dusty, down-trodden wandering soul in all of us.

The Fling celebrate the release of When The Madhouses Appear this Friday at Spaceland.


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