By Still Flyin'
'Never Gonna Touch The Ground' is such a fitting title for this debut album from San Franciscan party collective, Still Flyin'. The man behind the plan is Sean Rawls who, having established himself in numerous bands in Athens, Georgia, decided it was high time to get all of his friends of a musical persuasion together, for a colossal jam. The result is a euphoric record, intoxicated with the joys of life and so happy you'll need a breeze block and some string to stop it floating off from your record collection.
Rootsy and eclectic, the album breezes through a selection of soulful, all out sunshine pop tracks, with light reggae tinges. Nothing is left to the imagination; it's literally a kitchen sink affair.
The centre piece is opener, 'Never Gonna Touch The Ground,' which bounces along atop a heavy reggae bass line, and is steered by catchy unison vocals that proclaim the band's manifesto: "still flyin', we're never gonna touch the ground." There's not even the faintest whiff of the kind of self conscious, indie pastiche that you might expect from a bunch of essentially underground musicians. No, Still Flyin' is so unashamedly about the good times and the simple pleasure of creating a racket that they almost put to shame many bands of the moment for taking themselves too seriously.
Rawls and his band of merry men and women, swing, shuffle and skank amid a jamboree atmosphere, fashioned from fanfare brass, rattlesnake cabassas and jangling guitar. Dubbing yourself a 'ham-jam' band is just the kind of twee foolery that seems to underpin the Still Flyin' ethos. The funny thing is: it really does serve as an accurate label for this busy genre that they've seemingly had to dream up for the band. And, despite the hard partying, they still find time to take it down a notch towards the end of the album, for a sobering reflection on life thus far, poised on a lonesome guitar strum.
Still Flyin' are a unique outfit who perhaps inadvertently encapsulate a whole Californian musical heritage from The Beach Boys to the psychedelic sounds of San Francisco's Haight Asbury area. Celebrate good times.