FLAMING STARS: Named and Shamed: CD

Up front and not previously aware of the band, it’s Gallon Drunk, the Gun Club and Lou Reed. Heavy on the Lou. Throw in some Joy Division and Nick Cave. Occasionally interspersing the inherently washed-out and dressed-up standard British moodiness is a dimly sparkling piano-bar piano, which sashays to the front of a rumbling Ennio Morricone-style bass. Smoky vocals tango with a Flamenco guitar. A twanging six-string twitches hesitantly as if it were a private Dick tailing a suspect into a dead-end alley. While the album is not quite that suspenseful, what you’re listening to is still theoretically very Warhol-ish and painfully nouveau (think Velvet Underground). The band’s musical reference to Gallon Drunk is empirical (lead Max Decharne drummed for them), but what really strikes me, above all else, is that Decharne’s strong fascination with and invocation of Lou Reed rivals, if not supercedes, Morrissey’s idolism of James Dean.

 –thiringer (Alternative Tentacles)