Although they're more or less a Lansing band, the members of Flatfoot are no strangers to Detroit. Those keen on the local scene are likely to have seen them recently around playing with a diverse array of D-town mainstays. Named after a summer camp frequently attended by group founder Aaron Bales as a child, Flatfoot describes its music as "rock 'n' roll with some twang, pop sensibilities and punk energy." And their newest record fits this description like cowboy boots on a Clash fan.
As the album surges and flows with alternating senses of urgency and pastoral calm, the one surefire constant is their affinity for rock 'n' roll. The album opens with the aptly titled, "Blueblood," a song that defies you to not get swept away in its twangy, stomp-along goodness. On side two of this vinyl-only release (you get downloadable tracks with the purchase of the album), Flatfoot hits the listener hard with a four-in-a-row genre mash-up, which highlights Wild Was Our Mercy.
They start by pulling out a beer-raising, Pogues-channeling anthem called "Don't Leave Queens," followed by "Peloponnesia," yet another stomp-along, slide guitar country gem ("Peloponnesia, I can't front how I need you/You're to blame for how thick my blood is"). And just when you're wondering "Did they really just pull that off?" the gorgeous, Roy Orbison-worthy "New Rome" comes shining out of the speakers. The band then leaves the listener with "The Crawl," a sad bastard dirge that explores the wistful agony and confusion of love gone bad. And, of course, nothing says "I'm a little bit country and a little bit rock n' roll" quite as well as leaving your listeners crying in their beer.
Flatfoot opens for Black Jack & the Carnies on Saturday, May 9, at the Elbow Room, 6 S. Washington Ave., Ypsilanti; 734-483-6374.
Laura Witkowski reviews music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].