Flamingods - Levitation - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Flamingods - Levitation

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2019-05-03
Flamingods - Levitation
Flamingods - Levitation

Flamingods are a four-piece from London and Bahrain. Levitation, out now on Moshi Moshi, is their fourth album. Their sound combines both Western and Eastern influences; particularly Disco, Funk and Psychedelic compilations of 60s and 70s music.

Paradise Drive comes in on the rhythm from Blur’s Girls And Boys before a bubbling keyboard transforms it. It’s a combination of a Pop tune in melody and on the synths, Disco on the drums and bass and meandering Middle Eastern scales on the guitar; highly infectious but also the work of major music fans. Koray has a more laidback groove with squelchy keyboards flying around like Parliament/Funkadelic. Again, the bass and drums are super solid. The track is more Psychedelic than the opener, with little touches of Dub echo. Marigold is more intense. There are shades of David Byrne in the vocal and the keyboards and guitar snake around each other in the growing Pop cacophony. Flamingods’ love of 70s Middle Eastern music comes through even more in Astral Plane – a blend of Middle Eastern scales and the kind of smart, Day-Glo Pop that Klaxons used to do. A huge, meandering synth line starts Peaches in call-and-response with the vocal. The guitar then replaces the synth in this role – it’s a nice touch. The tune is like a Psychedelic Beatles album track and the bass playing is like Tina Weymouth. Moonshine On Water is slower, shorter, and, again, is like a George Harrison album track for the late-60s Beatles. Olympia is pure 60s Pop in its vocal melody but is all bubbling keyboards and insistent fuzz bass. It skips along at quite a pace, driven by some nifty hi-hat work. Keyboard chords and a nimble bass line combine on the Psychedelic Club Coco. The synth switches between Western and Eastern lines. Mantra East starts out slower than the other tracks and features violin playing (I think) Indian scales. It then jumps into a much quicker groove, full of drum rolls. The guitar is now doubling the violin as Flamingods continue to play with sounds and textures. Nizwa has an Indian feel without using Indian instruments. It’s full of synth handclaps and phased sounds that place it simultaneously in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. The title track is the final and longest track on the album. It starts out slowly with just vocals and keyboards. The drums come sparingly, along with a choir of voices as Levitation becomes something of an epic. Finally, halfway in, the full band joins in and carry the song to the end on a loping groove.

Flamingods remind me of those chart bands that obviously had a lot more going on. I’m thinking of Talking Heads, Foals, The Beatles, Blur, Klaxons, etc. All these bands also had an appreciation of Eastern and African music.  The album, like its cover art, is a brightly coloured treat for the senses. One hates to tie music to a season but this is going to sound absolutely belting coming out of open windows this summer.

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