Never Gonna Touch the Ground
May 29, 2009 Web Exclusive
Musicians don't like to be cataloged like insects, yet they end up filling in for the critic in the most humorous ways. Case in point: Sean Rawls, the leader of the 15-strong San Francisco collective Still Flyin' likes to call his band's party-ready tunes, "HAMMJAMM" music. His words, not mine. It's the sort of sugarcoated-cum-caffeinated made-up genre that can soundtrack your beer pong sesh or pizza pig-out. You know what I'm talking about dude? The group's cosmopolitan parade of sounds caught the ear of Okkervil River's Will Sheff in 2008, so that's why many partiers will hear their hyperactive debut, Never Gonna Touch the Ground.
Critics will naturally lump these jovial tunes among the lively co-ed sounds that have emanated from Architecture in Helsinki or I'm From Barcelona but they go further than that. African guitar lines electrify the lissome "Good Thing It's a Ghost Town Around Here," while "Dead Memory Man" shimmies to a ska beat. Elsewhere, the scrappy white-dude reggae beats of the title track and "Follow the Itinerary" dance next to horn-blasted rock anthems like "Forever Dudes." You can take most of these track titles at face value. The faux-spooky gospel track "Haunted Houses" is about Rawls' love for Halloween and "Act of Jamming" is an interstitial jam that bites old Stax records. Unoriginality issues aside, this zealous band knows how to have fun. Still Flyin' will rebound around their call-and-response funhouse for some tolerable partying before your eventual "HAMMJAMM HANGOVER." (www.takeyourshoesoffyoudontneedtheminthesky.com)
Author rating: 6/10
Average reader rating: 6/10