The Flaming Sideburns: Save Rock ‘n’ Roll (Jetset)

Chances are good you haven’t heard these songs before, but you’ll feel like you have, especially if you’ve heard anything by The Strokes.

Fear not, The Flaming Sideburns are not here to challenge, deconstruct, or reinvent rock music. As the album’s title suggests, this is an aural conservatory, preserving what may or may not be an endangered species—loud, fast, and (occasionally) stupid rock. Combining the best and worst of ’70s NYC glam rock, this Finnish band pulls off excellent simulations of their inspirations: MC5, Iggy Pop, and pre-Let’s Dance David Bowie. Vocalist and “spiritual guidance” provider Eduardo Martinez expounds upon shaking, burning, bringing things down, and blowing things away, punctuated with hey-heys and handclaps and backed up by Ski Williamson’s déjà vu guitar riffs. Chances are good you haven’t heard these songs before, but you’ll feel like you have, especially if you’ve heard anything by The Strokes.

But lest I sound like I’m putting down the album, I’ll make it clear that I like it. Studying the cover photo of the band with their uniform pouts, eyeliner, and retro haircuts that are probably best forgotten, I was wary about this one. But by the time I got to “Blow the Roof,” I was bouncing in my desk chair. Sure, clichés may be abundant here, from the opening shouts on “Lose My Soul” to the final distorted scream on “Testify,” but it is most definitely rock ’n’ roll. It’s loud, it’s solid, it sounds good, and who cares if it means anything or if it changes the world.

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