Bay Area post-punk outfit Flesh World's work could be described as an adept product of circumstances. Guitarists Jess Scott (of Brilliant Colors) and Scott Moore (of Limp Wrist) met hanging around San Francisco's Panhandle district, lifted their band name from a famous pornographic magazine, found the cover art for their new LP at a garage sale and managed to ingest the perfect syllabus of cultural material necessary to inspire a record like Into the Shroud.
The band's music distils their points of influence into a carefully balanced, easy-drinking spirit. Their sound is strong and punchy while managing to maintain a dreamy atmosphere, and their songs are layered but affecting and direct, featuring brisk tempos and tom-heavy drum patterns. On the title track, this sturdy rhythmic foundation rises to prop up subtle synth textures and swirling guitar chords in a propulsive, octave-hopping chorus.
This kind of arrangement is reflected in much of the following material, too. The bass tends to lead the way on songs like "Knock to Answer" or the beautifully morose "Tell Me I'm in Exile." An indelible, watery guitar tone trickles over everything, nodding to the poppy legato stylings of Johnny Marr on "To Hell With Your Purity" and "Ship Him to Shanghai" without sounding derivative.
Closing track "This Great Cheap Face" is a blistering ode to Dreamlander Cookie Mueller, whose work and legacy overlooked the production of Into the Shroud. It's moments like this that reveal the album's density. Flesh World's artistic and textual references are packed unassumingly into a concise and enjoyable batch of songs that provide the curious listener with various entry points into the band's exploration of American cultural history. (Dark Entries)