If the Frantic Flattops have their way, the next big thing in music will be a blast from the past: sounds produced by musical instruments, not machines.
There are no computer-derived bleeps or bloots or anything remotely sounding like a drum machine on the Rochester, N.Y.-based band's album, Cheap Women, Cheap Booze, Cheaper Thrills, (Pravda Records). This solid collection is a pointed reminder of the band's mission to resurrect real rock 'n' roll.
The album is filled with tales of dark, seedy bars and the people who frequent them. Most of the songs deal with the difficulties of relationships and countless failed attempts to find the right woman. Songs like Sweeter 17, Black Eye Blues, and The Black Widow are dark love stories.
The Flattops are a rockabilly act music, more along the lines of the Flat Duo Jets than the Stray Cats. The rejection and self-doubt conveyed in the songs can be felt with each wild guitar solo, each bass and drum line. But the band is not some sort of melancholy rockabilly Morrissey, hoping death will come soon. The songs serve as a record of experiences, best told over drinks, at late-night bars and venues where the band has played during its seemingly endless touring schedule.
The Flattops' lineup came together six years ago in Rochester, N.Y. It consists of lead singer and guitarist Frantic Frank DeBlase, percussionist Too Tall Paul and bassist Sid Baker.
The trio's musical ability is solid, and each track comes through with honest feeling and emotion. Though the songs tell vivid stories about bad relationships, listening to the album's 16 tracks at one sittingmakes the album seem repetitive. It's like listening to a friend tell his same woeful stories over and over. But by the end of the album, the listeners feels he knows the Flattops well.
- Mark Faulkner, Florida Times