Review: Black Flamingos "Play Speedway and Other Hits"

Ferenc Dobronyi of Frankie and The Pool Boys reviews Black Flamingos latest, Play Speedway and Other Hits

Black Flamingos’ new album further explores their surf-noir sound…warmly filling the tracks with a bare bones rhythm section that places Robbie Butkowski’s lush guitar in the spotlight. There are some minimal, and always very tasteful side accompanists, padding a production that sounds period specific to the late fifties. The tracks have a natural ambience, and I don’t detect a shred of digital embellishment or trickery. Just some talented session cats sitting in a room together, making music.

Play Speedway and Other Hits is not an album that relies on gimmicks, shock or bluster. It has a tonal minimalism that focuses on the prowess of the lead voice. The arrangements are uncluttered, so you can really hear the reverb fall-off and the cymbal sizzle. I think every song is augmented by some kind of 4th instrument- an acoustic guitar or percussion - but they rarely repeat, and the trio remains the focus.

The first song, “Speedway" is the lone epic in the set, a slow burner starting with legato chords, then a two-step groove picks it up as the dragster engines alight The chorus shakes with additional tambourine, then featured breaks for the rhythm section and a crunchy lead guitar solo to kick it into high gear.