An American gentleman named Kevin Gibson (Hi, Kevin!) asked me to have a listen to a couple of songs by his band, The Uncommon Houseflies, and to maybe pester the blog with them. My response was along the lines of “Yes indeedy”.
Before I get to the music, I want to mention two things that EP cover reminded me of:
1. It reminds me of the band The Residents.
2. It reminds me of the movie The Fly (the original one from 1958, not the gooey 1986 remake).
Incidentally, when I saw the name of the band I started wondering if there were any real uncommon houseflies (as opposed to humans calling themselves uncommon houseflies) and as far as I’ve been able to tell, there aren’t any uncommon houseflies. That makes me wonder (“ooh, it makes me wonder“) why anybody bothered adding the word “common” to houseflies, considering all houseflies are common. It’s one of life’s mysteries I suppose. (And now the word “common” looks really weird to me. You know when you look at a word over and over again until it completely loses all meaning?)
OK. Now to the songs…
The humour in each song reminds me of bands that play what I’d loosely describe as Comedy Power Pop. For me, the most notable exponents of Comedy Power Pop are the Barenaked Ladies. The Uncommon Houseflies remind me most of The Barenaked Ladies (despite the fact that I’ve heard very little of The Barenaked Ladies – so the two bands might not actually sound that similar). Two other bands I can think of that play Power Pop Comedy would be Fountains Of Wayne and Weezer. Incidentally, I once called this kind of thing “Joke Rock” in an earlier post.
And now to each individual song (this post is gettin’ convoluted)…
The Uncommon Houseflies – “Wretched Radio” (2012)
I think this is a decent enough song, but my inner producer wants to overhaul it. For the purposes of this comment I’ll call my inner producer “Aristotle McGee”. Aristotle wants to tell the singer the try a few more takes to get that voice sounding more secure and in tune. He also wants to remix the instruments (he’d definitely change the drum sound, especially the bass drum), maybe adding an extra guitar so we end up with two guitars, one in each channel to give it the song a fuller sound (Aristotle would almost insist on using 12-string electric guitars to give the backing a wonderfully jangly sound).
The Uncommon Houseflies – “Border Disorder (The Canada Song)” (2012)
Oh-oh. Aristotle again. In this song he’d be asking the singer to do some of the vocals again. For example, “…were not free…” (from 1:33 to 1:35) is sharp; “…though I had done nothing wrong…” (from 1:47 to 1:49) is flat; and “…dignity…” (at 3:43) is painfully sharp. I’ll admit that this is all fairly trivial, but my inner producer is sitting inside me, saying “Hey guys, can we do that one more time?”. Aristotle would also ask for a different snare drum sound. (He thinks it sounds pretty dead, and actually sounds more like a floor tom than a snare drum.)
But apart from those niggles I thought both songs were OK, although a little too jokey for the mood I was in when I listened to them. How about I just be quiet and let you decide what you think of them?
The Uncommon Houseflies official website
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The Uncommon Houseflies on ReverbNation
The Uncommon Houseflies on SoundClick