Listen Up: Wednesday February 13, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Forty-Fives

Fight Dirty (Yep Roc Records)

By Matthew Smith

Live, Atlanta’s Forty-Fives kill. They almost upstaged the Mooney Suzuki recently, and you know MS isn’t exactly Simon & Garfunkel. In a scene from out-of-hand frat-party debauchery, Adam Renshaw danced precariously atop his drum set, and guitarist Bryan Malone mugged and baited while Trey Tidwell pummeled his keyboards like a manic John Belushi seconds from coronary blow out.

On their sophomore effort, Fight Dirty, the Forty-Fives come off only slightly more subdued. The 100mph frenetic rush of their stage performances yields a cleaner texture in which each instrument can be heard clearly. Classic ’60s garage rock and modern punk stylings remain but, for the most, translate into basic, solid rock ’n’ roll. These boys sound closer to vintage Flamin’ Groovies or numerous ’70s rock bands (minus the pretensions) than do the Forty-Fives’ contemporaries in the indie-garage movement, a category into which the Atlanta band will likely be lumped.

Lyrically, forget it — mostly boy/girl drama stuff. The real strength lies in the swing-from-the-ceiling abandon. Check Malone’s tasty, fat guitar work, especially in the oughta-be-a-hit “Follow Me Down.” Marvel at how Tidwell’s keyboards steer most of the disc through graceful touches of soul to bedlamite desperation fits. And while the Forty-Fives are by no means what most would call “experimental,” they still slip savory nuggets of West-Coast psychedelia (circa the Age of Aquarius) into tunes (see: “Never Gonna Leave Here”).

Yeah, the Forty-Five’s party stumbles occasionally, and you should probably pick up the latest Wilco album first if you haven’t already. All the same, you’ll rarely hear anything so good on 102.1-FM, the “Long Ago Lost Its ...” Edge, and every self-respecting music geek ought to clear shelf space for this disc. Sweaty, hard-partyin’ revelry awaits. And don’t forget to catch this band live next time through.


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