Review: Local shock rock band Flummox summons best album yet


Photo courtesy of Flummox’s Bandcamp 

Story by Robert Dial / Contributing Writer

On Friday, local Murfreesboro band Flummox released their third feature-length album, “Intellectual Hooliganism.” Their newest offering continues in the band’s tradition of a few heavy-bass riffs, inspired by the likes of Black Sabbath, paired with faster, funkier Primus-esque tracks.

Unlike earlier offerings from the four-piece, this album displays more cohesion throughout. That isn’t to say Flummox has lost its eclectic mix of influences in musical styling and content. The band still tackles a wide range of subject matter with tracks like “Alligator People,” named for a chilling account of short-term survivors of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and penultimate track “Oh Possum,” an educational ode to the North American marsupial.

What the band has done differently this time around is replace harsher noise tracks like “Tongue-saw” from 2016 album “Selcouth” with more standard metal fare like the literary-inspired “Tom Walker Blues” and “Black Phillip,” named after the satanic goat costar of 2015 horror film “The Witch.” The album also includes tongue-in-cheek love songs like “Summer Cold” and “What Are You Up To?”

Perhaps one of the biggest problems with this album is that a few tracks have a little too much Primus emulation and seem more like imitation than a healthy level of influence. This is most apparent in singer/bassist Allison Blake Dellinger’s vocal performance on opener “Hey!” and on the bass in the aforementioned “Alligator People.”

What Flummox offers that Primus does not is an extensive grasp of queer theory. Frontman Dellinger, a trans woman, expresses some of the struggles related to her nontraditional sexual identity in “A Bundle of Styx.” On the track, Dellinger comments, “I like what I like, and I’m psyched to be who I’ve been from the very start.” The song celebrates queerness in an obscene but playful manner, and that tone permeates the entire album.

Flummox offers an irreverent take on more serious issues, such as the sexual culture in America, on tracks like “Bundle of Styx” or the prospect of a nuclear bomb in “Alligator People,” and gives reverence to ridiculous subject matters such as the “only rooster ever worth praising” that acts as the protagonist in the 11-minute “Freedom Rooster.” “Intelligent Hooliganism” proves that the band’s sense of humor and devotion to all things weird have both matured a lot in the two years since “Selcouth.”

Flummox will not please everyone with their latest outing but the music is heavy, boisterous, funny and unapologetically queer. “Intellectual Hooliganism” is available now for streaming or purchase on the Flummox Bandcamp page and on Spotify.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Sydney Wagner, email lifestyles@mtsusidelines.com.

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