North Carolina's Flesh Wounds is one of the most volatile and infectious rock acts working, and their new, eponymous full-length flat-out shreds.
The year 2014 has been a big year for local bands on North Carolina-based Merge Records. But between albums by Spider Bags, Reigning Sound and Hiss Golden Messenger, the biggest coup might be the seven-inch the label put out by Flesh Wounds. The band is one of the most volatile and infectious rock acts working, and they've followed that Merge single with an eponymous full-length that flat-out shreds. It may be easy to smirk at song titles like "Smoking Crack with My Friend Jeff" or "CH Drivers Are High", but the rock here is full or serious sneer.
Montgomery Morris howls through these songs like a banshee, and the guitars slice and scuff up these songs at every turn, while Laura King's drums push the songs forward in a driving sprint. The band can rattle and jangle through great songs like "Unsettling", chug with the dark intensity of the Stooges on "Kennel Cough", deliver earworm hooks on "Dies Irae", and tap into bluesy rock on "Jail Bird" or "I'm Gonna Dig Myself a Hole" and elsewhere. Flesh Wounds may strike you initially as garage rock, but their sound is too fitful to stay within such confines. And if there's a harsh fuzz to this, the record is not noise. Guitars buzzsaw, drums gouge, and vocals scratch and scrape, but all that work makes these songs, at their core, polished gems. Flesh Wounds is the sound of the sweetest tunes being screamed into your ear, and they're good enough you won't mind the ringing they leave behind.