The Fling's four members have excellent taste in music (translation: they like a lot of the same music I do). Their influences include John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band, the Zombies' Odessey and Oracle, the Band's Music from Big Pink, the Beach Boys' Smile, David Bowie's Hunky Dory, the Flying Burrito Brothers' Gilded Palace of Sin, Os Mutantes' self-titled LP, the Pixies' Surfer Rosa, Television's Marquee Moon, and Tom Waits' Swordfishtrombones. Of course, many bands have impeccable musical taste, but most can't translate those keen aesthetics into quality music. So how do these Long Beach lovers of great old music fare on their self-released Ghost Dance EP?
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As the above litany suggests, they're faithful disciples of the rock canon and its eccentrics. You will hear nothing surprising or innovative on Ghost Dance's five songs. "The Breaks" is laid-back, feel-good rock that's light on its feet and as smooth as an Elliott Smith B-side. The beautiful, multilayered vocal harmonies and ambling gait on "Lonely Fool" tips its moptop to mid-'60s Beatles and Beach Boys. The ambitious "Strange Ideas" sounds like Gram Parsons country-ing up Abbey Road. "Get Back" is a velvety ballad with the diaphanous melodic contours of the Left Banke. Finally, "Cold Comfort" returns to the Beatles' hallowed 1969 LP, with ominous yet alluring chord progressions that recall "I Want You (She's So Heavy)."
The Fling—Dustin Lovelis, Graham Lovelis, Justin Ivey and Randoms—are competent craftsmen working in the tunes-über-alles rock tradition. Within those parameters, they're slightly more accomplished than dozens of other area bands treading this highly familiar path.
The Fling perform with Tijuana Panthers, Deep Sea Diver, Original Colonies at a Long Beach BBQ, Livingston Park, Livingston Dr. & St. Joseph Ave., Long Beach. May 17, 1-4 p.m. Free (includes food and Kool-aid). For more information, visit www.myspace.com/thefling and www.thefling.us.
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and a decent high-resolution photo (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly,1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to firstname.lastname@example.org.