[25 October 2013]
The idea of fusing electronic, indie pop dance beats with hoof-stomping blues isn’t something that’s easy to swallow, but Detroit quartet Flint Eastwood makes the genres seem naturally sexed-up bedfellows on EP Late Nights in Bolo Ties. Describing their sound as “a spaghetti Western cooked in the ovens of Detroit,” it’s an aesthetic the group plays up across the EP’s four songs, name dropping Lee Van Cleef at one point and titling one cut “Billy the Kid”. Their own name obviously elicits another famous Western filmmaker, though it is also an allusion to their home state, and the record’s title comes from the members’ matching stage apparel, but rather than relying on such superficial concerns in a gimmicky manner, the band use them as starting points to inform their songs, each of which is a stunner.
“Secretary” opens with a pulsating rhythm and psychedelic guitar flourishes before going full-on unhinged, singer Jax Anderson bellowing put-downs like a woman given over to madness. “You’re an ignorant boy / You’re just an idiot”, she sings with contagious confidence, the percussion building to a clatter of cymbals. “Billy the Kid” is more synth-oriented and goes through multiple stylistic shifts all backed by pounding drums, the sing-along hook of “This is the end / This is the end / To what we’ve become” flush with an apocalyptic grandeur. It might sound dour, but as its namesake implies, its attitude is more that of a sly outlaw’s cockiness. “Can You Feel Me Now” maintains the defiance with a tempo that never lets up, featuring a swampy guitar line that seems to come from the Mississippi Delta. Closer “Shotgun” is the most ramshackle cut of the bunch, a juke-joint rattler rife with paranoia and threats and frenzied instrumentation. Once “Shotgun” ends, you’re left aching for an LP’s worth of material. When such a release manifests, and with the cult following Flint Eastwood is cultivating in Michigan based on their frenetic and feral live shows, one should be sure that the band’s name is going to spread beyond the mitten state.