Brooklyn Sound Solution, the latest from garage rock gurus The Fleshtones, mixes things up with covers, originals, instrumentals and Patti Smith’s guitarist Lenny Kaye.
Most of the songs covered aren’t well known these days; however, there’s one everybody will recognize easily ("Day Tripper"). The opportunity for folks to be introduced to older artists gives the record an added value.
The Fleshtones put their own stamp on the covers and they try to balance the sound they’ve cultivated over three decades with the blues and jazz of the originals artists. The group even ventures for a drum ("Back Beat #1") and a harmonica solo ("You Give Me Nothing To Go On").
In general, the cover tracks are more interesting while the originals, especially the original instrumentals, are hum-drum. "Solution #1," "Back Beat #1," "Solution #2" and "Lost on Xandu" all fail to hold the listeners attention and work better as background music.
The band’s renditions of Ken Parker’s "I Can’t Hide" and Sleepy John Estes’ "Rats in My Kitchen" stand out among the covers and the single "You Took a Bite of My Soul" is the one original that doesn’t feel run-of-the-mill.
There’s not a lot of replay value to Brooklyn Sound Solution. The main allure of the album is to hear how the band performs other people’s songs and the mystery is gone after one listen. The originals just aren’t strong enough to keep listeners, even longtime Fleshtone fans, coming back.
With the wide gap in quality between the originals and the covers, The Fleshtones would’ve been better off recording all covers for Brooklyn Sound Solution.