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.