On Abrasions, Abscesses, and Amputations, the cassette debut from rough-and-tumble trio Flesh Wounds, "All of the Time" seems out of place. With vivid production, a hook that just won't quit and bass that expertly bolsters the manic energy of the guitar and drums, it's the album's only fully formed appendage, a near-perfect single surrounded by eight songs that sound like promising demos.
This debut happened quickly, after all: Flesh Wounds formed about a year ago from the bartending camaraderie of Montgomery Morris and Laura King. Morris plays bass in the likewise livewire Last Year's Men, while King used to drum in The Moaners, a moody band that pumped up the desert rock of bands such as Giant Sand. Dan Kinney of the "acousticore" triumvirate The Future Kings of Nowhere joins on second guitar. Despite their collective experience in other acts, Flesh Wounds' work isn't overly seasoned. Morris, for instance, plays guitar, an instrument he barely knew when the band started. He compensates by assaulting his instrument, tearing through simplistic garage rock riffs as Kinney adds angular counterpoints. King keeps their energy from tearing the trio apart.
But in the months since their inception, the Wounds have become a potent live band with a razor-sharp approach. AAA serves as a fascinating document in that evolution. Songs like "All of the Time" operate within the revved-up rhythm and blues style of The Oblivians—not surprising as that band's Greg Cartwright is producing the second album from Last Year's Men. "Smokin' Crack With My Friend Jeff" is as addictive as you'd think, rocketing along on burly punk riffs that recall the Stooges. "Your Ghost" hews toward grunge with its searing, strung-out theme; Morris takes the bait, offering his best approximation of Kurt Cobain's mumble-to-howl mode.
While "All of the Time" hits all of Flesh Wounds' highs at once, the rest of AAA is every bit as intriguing. It offers not only an insight into the creation of one of the area's most riveting rock attacks but the promise of what's bound to come.
Label: All Day
This article appeared in print with the headline "Fresh efforts."