9 June 2011

The Flies - House of Love

The Flies - House of Love

Label: Decca (this reissue Acme)
Year of Release: 1967

They were a rum bunch of old coves, The Flies.  Hitless to the last, they were one of London's underground dwelling hippy house acts, appearing at the "14 Hour Technicolour Dream" wearing palm-leaf skirts and emptying flour all over the audience, then sneering in the music press that Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd had "sold out".

Given the above, you'd assume that their recorded output would sound rather like AMM, or perhaps the proto-prog of The Nice, all experimental and boundary breaking, making "Interstellar Overdrive" sound like "Love Me Do".  In fact, what you actually got was some very sharp, abrasive and distinctly mod-ish rock music - in other words, this was essentially a band who hadn't really progressed much from the "clean living under difficult circumstances" model, but were damned if they were going to let anyone think they were behind the fashion of the times.

Whilst the sheer cheek of the situation might lead you to switch off, it should be noted that they were actually very, very sharp at what they did.  Their version of The Monkees' "I'm Not Your Stepping Stone" leaves the song sounding mean, menacing and groovy, and this track is so savage and swaggering it somehow manages to sound like the work of some early nineties Madchester band.  Funky basslines and pounding rhythms combine with vocals so over-annunciated Liam Gallagher would be impressed.  The resultant cocktail ends up being what the music press of 1966 would probably have called a magnificent rave-up.  Unfortunately for The Flies, the year was 1967, not 1966 - light years in sixties developmental terms -  and this may well have been what caused the track to fail.  Little else stands in its way apart from perhaps the slightly unambitious repetition in the chorus, but plenty of other acts succeeded with similar minimalism at the time.

The B-side "It Had To Be You" is a cover version of the standard, and almost sounds sarcastic in comparison - although it has a certain similarity to our old friends Breeze we uncovered many entries ago.  Don't worry, I'm not even attempting to suggest that both acts are one and the same.

The Flies split in 1968 after one final single, "Magic Train".

9 comments:

Maria Taylor said...

Not to be confused with the punk outfit of the same name, who sang 'Love and a Molotov Cocktail.' Interesting band.

23 Daves said...

Annoyingly enough, Last FM insists that The Flies are the punk band The Flys (who I think spelt their name slightly differently?) whenever I try to play them.

Anonymous said...

to make matters a bit more confusing, there's also an Australian 60s band called The Flies who recorded 2 45s.

Anonymous said...

Just going through some old singles and found this one with a signed sleeve and a picture postcard of the group. Shame they never made it to the big time!

K

23 Daves said...

Seriously?! That will still be worth quite a bit of money, K. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Is it the original Decca pressing? That's worth money in itself.

Anonymous said...

Yes its Decca. The actual record has surface marks but it does play through and I think sounds OK.

If anyone is interested, I'm gonna stick it on ebay in the next week or so - It doesnt do much for for me so if theres a collector out there - then all good.

23 Daves said...

Those can go from anything from £30 - £130 depending upon your luck (and the general condition of the record). I'd definitely be interested, but I have no faith that I'd actually win the auction. Keep us posted...

Anonymous said...

So I've now listed on ebay

Anonymous said...

Auction ends tomorrow 14th April 2013
kls

also found this link from Ian Baldwin of the flies who posted a blog.. really interesting if you were a fan (and even if not actually)
http://ianrichardbaldwinblog.blogspot.co.uk/2007/12/story-of-flies.html