Flummox-SelcouthI usually try to pick bands to review based on my prior knowledge of them, partly because I’m risk-averse, but mainly because I’m very lazy and I dislike having to make the effort to look up a band’s information. Unfortunately, this same laziness also means I’m often last to check what’s available for review, so end up with the unknowns spurned by the rest of the AMG workforce. Flummox were one such unknown, but I had a good feeling about the band. Distinguishing themselves from the rest of the metal scene with a quirkiness that extends from their artwork to their lyrics to their range of musical influences, on paper Flummox are a fascinating prospect. Though generally not a fan of jam-bands, especially on record, a sneak preview of “The Ghost of Ronnie Dio” suggested Flummox could combine their influences and personality into well-written, entertaining, proper songs. So how does Selcouth fair as a whole?

Unfortunately confusededly. Selcouth is a big ole mash up of genres and ideas, and when brought together with skill this sort of thing can work well. But a line from their bio hints that the requisite care doesn’t really enter into Flummox‘s musical calculations: “…Blake [Dellinger, bass/vocals] & Drew [Jones, guitar] decided to create a band that could & would play whatever they wanted to. Whether they were playing heavy stoner rock anthems, progressive death metal epics, jazzy funk jams, or even ‘5’s style Doo-wop, it was all done under the Flummox banner.” This is precisely how Selcouth comes across: a mish-mash of musical ideas crammed together without any thought for the audience.

There are some highlights sprinkled across the album’s rather excessive 66 minutes, though. Flummox base themselves in groovy, stoner doom that sits somewhere between Electric Wizard, Kyuss and Cathedral, and when they feel like it they can riff with the best of them. Opener and title-track “Selcouth” lumbers forward with a cracking slow groove before segueing into a softer, psychedelic mid-section, followed by some tasty 70s Sabbath worship. We’re even treated to a surprisingly good bass solo before the song ends. Previously mentioned “The Ghost of Ronnie Dio” is a super-catchy, cheeky ditty blending the weirdness of Captain Beefheart with the heaviness of Cathedral, while “Pan’s Daughter” builds on a Kyuss base, gradually upping the intensity and weirdness to great effect as the song progresses.

The rest of the album is hit and miss, but mostly the latter. Sometimes whole songs annoy, such as the generic stoner-jam “A National Selection” with its thieved “Seven Nation Army” riff, irritating two-minute noise ejaculation “Tongue-Saw,” or terrible “comedy” closer “Bark, Paddle, and Ball.” But more often songs that contain good ideas are derailed by bad ones. “Depression Heap” and “Flight Through the CosmosUnibirth” both start off as pretty good Cathedral worship, but the former is derailed by upbeat rockbilly and the latter just doesn’t know when to stop, wandering aimlessly for twelve minutes before finally dying out. “Hummingbird Anthem” also has some nice moments, mostly Primus-inspired, but is mainly tedious country-blues.

Flummox-2016

The performances are also mixed. The guitars and bass are quite loose, which fits Flummox‘s style, and played with obvious skill. By comparison the drumming is bland and uninspired, often a little jerky, and sounds like it was played on a bad electric kit. Dellinger’s vocals fit the music well with hints of Geddy Lee and Mike Patton, but they are inconsistent and at his worst he sounds more like Jack White with a throat infection. The overall production is quite lo-fi, suiting the doom sections well but not really helping the softer parts.

Incorporating diverse influences with over-the-top wackiness can result in remarkably original and exciting music – for example Mr. Bungle, who are an obvious influence for Flummox – but it takes a lot of skill to prevent it from descending into an annoying, random mess. Though they’ve got the diverse influences and wackiness to spare, they don’t have the skill to write a good album. Like a lot of jazz, I suspect Flummox‘s music is a lot more fun to play than it is to listen to; I advise them to have more consideration for their audience next time ’round.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: v2 mp3
Label: Tridroid Records
Websites: flummoxed.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/flummoxband
Releases Worldwide: February 12th, 2016

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  • Prostidude

    That cover will cause epileptic seizures worldwide.

    • Blake Dellinger

      Haha joke’s on you! There’s no way this album’s going worldwide!

  • Scooby doom! This might have been a good band, too, if it hadn’t have been for you damn kids! And your pesky inability to hold onto a thought for longer than five seconds!

    • Blake Dellinger

      Scooby dooby doom!

  • Diego Molero

    Was going to make a fun comment about White Wizzard but then I realize the reference was to Electric Wizard, dammit

  • The Stormin Mormon

    They really did need Dio’s ghost to help them on this one…

  • Goldicot

    So you could say this album flummoxed you? UEAHEHAEHAHEHAEHAEHAHEHAAHEHAH

    • AlphaBetaFoxface

      Your profile picture makes your comment at least 9 times funnier

  • Hulksteraus

    Thank the Gods that this is not ROTM material…. Instead of Abbath unsettling stare causing panic attacks worldwide, we would have fits…

  • Zadion

    I dunno about the record but that band picture is 5/5.

    • Reese Burns

      I think that the hanging portrait is Uncle Ben from the rice bags..
      Although I can’t tell since his eyes are covered and they drew an inverted cross on him. Either way, I thought it was funny.

      • Blake Dellinger

        Yep, that’s old Uncle Ben.
        The rice one, not the dead Spider Man one.

        • Reese Burns

          Where did you get the Uncle Ben portrait? I must have one! (I assume you’re the same Blake as the one in the band)

          • Blake Dellinger

            We shot some old guy for it who was waiting for his nephew outside a library in New York. We stole his car too.

          • Reese Burns

            Ahh, alright. I don’t live in New York, but there’s always lots of seniors outside the public library, one of they’d bound to have one, I’ll hop to it

          • Blake Dellinger

            Just make sure none of them are super villains though. We made the mistake once and ended up having our asses handed to us by some old fuck in a green bird costume.

    • Blake Dellinger

      Ya think that one’s good….

  • Blake Dellinger

    For anyone interested in listening to this abortion & forming your own opinion, Metal Injection is streaming the whole thing on Monday the 8th. As for me? I hate it, as does the rest of the band, & we’re dreading having to play the whole thing in its entirety at our album release show. But fuck it. This record is our abortion survivor, brain damaged, technicolor, bastard baby, & we’re responsible for it.

  • Kalsten

    The singer sounds exactly like the guy from Toehider. That is a lot to say!

    • Blake Dellinger

      Never heard of this band, so I looked them up. Love this shit! Thanks for the compliment.