Society Social Flies cassette

Strictly speaking, I am not sure what to think of the name of this band. It is either clever and intriguing enough to entice the curious listener, or just embarrassing, too arty for its own good, and a bit snobbish. But then what do I know, I actually think PINK TURDS IN SPACE is a good name. In any case, I think the moniker works in this particular instance. SOCIETY is a one-man project from Philadelphia (the brain behind it also plays in MESH, thanks Discogs for the support), and Social Flies is its second tape. Like all solo projects, Social Flies has its own cohesive personal dynamics, and utterly reflects with accuracy the creator’s intent and vision. It is often a tricky exercise, and you cannot get away with a bad song by blaming the bass player as one often does. SOCIETY’s music is very lo-fi and purposeful and tends to have an ’80s avant-garde feel, which is something I am always a little suspicious about. It sounds pretty free, rather original even from my perspective. The music has a minimalistic feel and, with some songs openly borrowing those typical tribal beats, I am reminded of anarcho-punk demos from the ’80s from ZOUNDS or the EPILEPTICS, as well as the more experimental and versatile bands like the APOSTLES and the EX or even, indeed, early CHUMBAWAMBA. The primitive sound certainly confers an old-school vibe and, were it not for the vocal delivery and some arrangements pointing to inspired modern American bands like STRAW MAN ARMY (they are listed as influences for good reasons), I could have been tricked into believing that Social Flies is an unreleased All the Madmen tape. However, the cover is hideous, and I cannot see the connection with the carefully crafted, deceptively simple music. Other than that, give SOCIETY a go if you are curious or just open-minded.

Society All Flies Go to Hell cassette

Maybe it’s just my own personal obsession, but I sensed VELVET UNDERGROUND worship in this and I’m not mad about it. I’m sure there’s other earmarked influences in this, but my ear is catching Matrix Tapes-era but with Bob Quine’s tape recorder, except it was recorded in a living room in 2022 and the four-track is broken (at their own admission). It’s audible especially in the final track as you hear it reel its last, but the crackle of analog death adds a certain charm of imperfection to the whole thing. It’s an additional layer to the double-time guitar, thumpy dead string bass, and drums that sound like those kid’s kits with the paper heads. Each song is maxed out at 1:30, so you’ll be in and out with it in less than ten minutes. It’s econo, it’s budget; they call it “dunce,” but it’s certainly not dim. “Piss Grave” and its bouncy bassline is a standout from the bunch.