Fleshwater deliver nine cuts of harmonious energy on their debut LP, ‘We’re Not Here To Be Loved’.
Three years into this decade, one thing is clear: Interest in 90s music remains alive and well. From Nirvana’s “Something In The Way” appearing in The Batman to The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” appearing in Black Adam, both the alternative music and culture that garnered mainstream attention in the 90s has remained at a high level of interest. Outside of remaining a fixture of popular culture, its influence on rock music today remains potent.
For every band that attempts to be the next Green Day or singer that attempts to be the next Kurt Cobain, they all lack the main property that made alternative music so visceral and real. What is it, you ask? Energy.
While most bands that attempt to pay homage to this era write decent songs with great production, the same sense of urgency and passion is almost always absent. On Fleshwater’s debut LP, “We’re Not Here To Be Loved,” the band crafts tightly-knit alternative rock rooted in the sounds of 90s pioneers while interjecting their own uniquely powerful qualities. Consisting of Vein.fm members Anthony DiDio and Matt Wood, Fleshwater’s warm distortion stands in stark contrast to the metallic qualities of Vein.fm. Accompanied by vocalist Marisa Shirar, her performances elevate these songs while evoking ethereal characteristics akin to Rachel Goswell’s finest contributions in Slowdive.
That said, do not think that Fleshwater’s ability to establish beautiful and shoegaze-esque vocal chemistry stifles their ability to craft engaging and heavy instrumentals for Shirar’s performances to glide over. Album opener “Baldpate Driver”, is an earworm of an introduction that oozes out of your speakers. While it may not be the most aggressive moment on “We’re Not Here To Be Loved,” the mass of guitars on “Baldpate Driver” somehow comfort via their overwhelming nature–reminiscent of albums such as Deftones’ 2000 magnum-opus, “White Pony.”
Drummer Matt Wood’s performances on “Closet”, “The Razor’s Apple” and “Kiss the Ladder” are played with such conviction and nuance that keeps each of them in my daily rotation. Aside from the excellent sonic pallet created by the guitars and elegant vocals courtesy of Shirar, Wood’s drums will keep you hanging on to every beat. Every member of this band adds a layer of excitement and provides their own creative energy, amounting to unfathomable power across every song on “We’re Not Here To Be Loved.”
For previously only releasing a demo recording in February 2020, the future remains bright for Fleshwater. I have yet to hear a band incorporate the styling of nineties alternative music in a way that feels effortless, catchy, and as exciting as any record from that era. Unquestionably, Fleshwater is a band that I will be watching for years to come. I can only hope that you follow suit.
“We’re Not Here To Be Loved” is out now.