September 01, 2004

Whirlwind Heat "Flamingo Honey"

On the surface, it seems like a pretty asinine idea: an album of ten one-minute songs. Sure, there are tons of bands out there who have done the short song thing, but in those cases, many of the songs are harsh, abrasive tunes that lack melody or anything that makes them worth listening to more than once or twice. To sit out and make the songs out to be almost exactly a minute--cutting them off at or around the one minute mark--seems kinda crazy. I mean, really, S.O.D. and Anal Cunt didn't say, 'hey, let's do our thing for exactly one minute and then cut it off.'

That you groan a little bit at the thought of this band being hyped simply because they're friends with Jack White is understandable, but what makes Flamingo Honey even more surprising is how good the project actually is. That the band gathered in Brendan Benson's studio one afternoon and recorded this album in an afternoon's session doesn't really impress you until you realize that these songs were also composed during that session. So, yeah, Flamingo Honey challenges you to rethink what it is you think of Whirlwind Heat--if you think anything at all. For a band whose debut album was a rather sloppy affair, this record--this should be sloppy record is incredibly good. Heck, I'd say that most of these songs would make great full-length songs, there's not a bum note here, really. (I love the fact that many songs just abruptly end, too!)

The music? It's surprisingly fresh. If anything, it sounds like a cross between a young band working out ideas in the studio and a band that's recently made the decision that they want to be Ween--and this, my friends, is what I call a good thing. They do the fast punk thing ("A Worm's Coat"), they do the weird noise thing ("The Meat Packers") and, surprisingly, they do the pop thing ("No Gums," "H is O"). But, you know what? Don't listen for songs, because when you do, Flamingo Honey comes up short. Instead, listen to this with the realization of what it is--an EP made out of boredom and fun that exists as one big, gigantic, continual thing. Flamingo Honey is a fun little record--true, there's not much to it, but when you get down to it, this record is nothing more than the results of an afternoon of two dudes having fun and making a little music in the process--and there's nothing wrong with that!

--Joseph Kyle

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