Dusted Reviews

Mr. Tube and the Flying Objects - Listen Up

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Mr. Tube and the Flying Objects

Album: Listen Up

Label: Sweet Nothing

Review date: Aug. 29, 2006

A few years back Paulo Zappoli, known for his work with The Black Heart Procession, encountered Freddie Dillinger, a.k.a. Mr. Tube. The television repairman turned out to have been a songwriter in the late '50s in Toledo, Ohio, and then led a band called Freddie Feelgood and the Real Good Feelings during the '60s and '70s. The band later became Mr. Tube and his Flying Objects, but never recorded an album despite having hundreds of songs written. Upon hearing some live recordings, Zappoli offered to record an album's worth of the songs, with Mr. Tube producing. Hence these 10 songs, written between 1956 and 2004.

It's a fun story, but depending on your expectations you'll likely find the story more interesting than the songs. There's something intriguing in the combination of an older songwriting sensibility mixed with the playing and recording approach that Zappoli and the other players bring. The results sometimes feel like music from a sideways place, not quite fitting any recognizable place and time; sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes not.

"Long Night Review" is an example of the former, an odd, booming song with ghostly New Wave synths that harkens back to early Depeche Mode, of all things, but with a distinctly different approach. Likewise, "The Sell" is an odd one, a heavy almost-funk dirge with intergalactic synth that works surprisingly well.

"Brothers in a Bind" is perhaps the best song here, a grimy sort of funk rock. Its heavy groove benefits from crashing drums and a strong bassline, as a rhythmic guitar churn buoys the singing, telling its down-and-out story. Though the lyrics are a bit hackneyed, the song still hangs together.

The playing is strong throughout, though there are some awkward moments of arrangement here and there. While the opener, "Put Me Back on yr Side," boasts an admirably laid-back bass line, the mid-tempo jazzy feel with its moaning horns and warbled guitar doesn't escape getting pulled down into lethargic lounge. Several other songs simply feel obvious, from the predictable plod of "Tryin'" to "Lost Days" with its strong rhythm but uninteresting hard rock guitar. "Jesus Was a Vato" and "Mexican Remix" both try to break out into something different, but never quite get off the ground, and "In the Arms of Demons" plods heavily to the finish line.

There's something here if you dig for it, and some rewards to be found. But as with so many newly-excavated finds, the story behind the music overshadows the songs themselves.

By Mason Jones

Read More

View all articles by Mason Jones

Find out more about Sweet Nothing

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.