[sic] Magazine

Flies On You – etcetera

we are not halfwits….

Leeds DIY duo Flies On You take us on a journey back to the late seventies. Some time between 1977 and 1979 punk-rock extinguished itself and the dispossessed rockers started making taut, spacious, moody music that became known as post-punk. It was a fertile time and Flies On You are bringing back the fertiliser. With tongues lodged firmly in cheeks, Flies On You hit the Factory reset button and wipe away four decades of musical development on one sprawling album.

And it’s fun. The opening cut here, ‘Hangdog’, is a metallic rant evocative of early Banshees or Warsaw. So much so that we think we’re in for a grim long playing experience. Not so. ‘Katie Hopkins in a Human Form’ (yes, you read it correctly) betrays the Yorkshire combo’s sense of humour. ‘Can You Smell That Burning Noise’, up next is more interesting musically. Here we sense the band hesitating between seriousness and parody. The chorus wants to be ‘straight’ post-punk/dreampop and achieves its aim. Later on, ‘People Like Pete’ is like Wire with a sneer to rival Newman or even Lydon.

Fairly enjoyable so far but you already get a sense of the duo’s schizophrenic approach. This is augmented further on subsequent tracks. One is a dub-reggae outing. Another apes The Fall and the album slips into the realm of the ‘admired’ rather than fully enjoyed. These guys are clever but their versatility threatens to become a disadvantage. If this was Masterchef we’d be saying ‘you’ve got too much going on, on the plate’. Undoubtedly that was the whole point but I have to be honest, the glimpses of seriousness (‘You’re the Anaesthetist, John’, ‘Can you smell…’, ‘Swine Hero’) make me wish for more of that and a little less comedy.

Like revenge, my post-punk is best served cold. Of course there is a market for mirth. The brilliant Half Man Half Biscuit are probably the prime example. Other acts manage to do deadpan too (Scumbag Philosopher). Personally I think Flies On You are falling between two, if not several stools. They probably need to nail their colours to one mast. As they currently stand the net is spread rather too wide. The same could no doubt be said for my metaphors.

Flies On You website