It’s 1979, and Big Radio is grappling with the dichotomy between the bombast of Queen, and the new wave of The Police. Nobody really knows which way to go, and the airwaves momentarily open up to allow such one-hit wonders as The Headboys, New England, and The Fabulous Poodles in.
The sad fact that the doors closed soon after is of little consequence. Just being heard may not have been all those bands were after, but honestly, it was better than nothing.
I find myself wondering if the same fate awaits Flying Machines. This is a really good band, albeit one with way too much Queen damage. But still, their eponymous (God, I love that word) debut has all the makings of a hit.
From the semi-prog opening cut “Talk About It” to the concluding “Clearing The Boards,” Flying Machines honestly makes me feel as if I am in the late seventies. Better than that though, they actually make me remember long lost bands like Nantucket.
Of the ten songs on Flying Machines, “Video Games” is the clearly the winner. Vocalist William Ryan George does an amazing job at channeling the ghost of Freddie Mercury, while guitarist Ken Weisbach does the best Andy Summers imitation ever.
When I mention the Queen influence, it is overt. Flying Machines clearly love the band, and it shows. Better yet, they seem to have listened only to the early stuff, before “Bohemian Rhapsody.” So you hear tributes to the likes of “Brighton Rock” and “Keep Yourself Alive” rather than the more obvious choices.
There is a lot more to Flying Machines than the Queen tag though. Bassist Evan Joyce is incredible on “Hopelessly Alone.” And guitar player John Wlaysewski seriously rocks it on “Clearing The Boards.”
Flying Machines are a marketer’s dream band. They have won tons of online polls, and Yahoo! Is behind them big-time. Let’s hope they can get past all of the hoopla, (anybody remember Rail?) and get their music heard.
I for one, like this a lot. Their debut is worth hearing, and a reminder that some of the best stuff out there still comes from kids listening to their favorite records in the basement, and re-writing them.
Weird choice that it is, “1979” is probably my favorite Smashing Pumpkins song. Flying Machines takes me back in such an indelible way to that very odd, and ultimately very rewarding year.