Brown Eye Superfly - Any Other Way
There's absolutely no reason to suggest that anyone else should remember them but about 1990, a Swedish band called The Creeps release Blue Tomato, which mixed rock and funky, Stax'd brass under surreally, sexy lyrics. Given that no one else has a copy of this disc in their collections, it's fair to say that the record buyers of 1990 were unprepared for funk rock amongst the baggy rhythms of the day but coming after the success of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ocean Colour Scene and Reef, there may be a lingering sense of goodwill towards Brown Eye Superfly.
Brown Eye Superfly were formed in 1997 in Glasgow and recorded this album in 2003 with Larry Primrose, who's known locally for his work with The Trashcan Sinatras and Cosmic Rough Riders and which has been released on Zero 3 Records. Brown Eye Superfly haven't stopped there, however, and have employed a clutch of DJ's to remix tracks from Any Other Way as b-sides and downloads but until a follow-up is recorded, with maybe a stronger dance influence, what we'll hear is this mix of rock and funk.
The album opens with Evil Baby and - there's really no other way to say this - it's an awful, awful song. Despite desperately wishing to be associated with classic, late-seventies rock, the lyrics, including the lines, "This old town seems strange / It's like some spooky evil spirit ridin' through my veins" are the perfect accompaniment to music that struggles to get beyond dad-rock nonsense like Ocean Colour Scene, whose dull riffing was the low point of the already-low TFI Friday.
From the second track onwards, Any Other Way does get better and the lyrics pick up from that shocking opening. The second track, Never Made A Difference is better example of funk rock featuring wah-wah guitar and brass, which wouldn't have been out of place on an album by Free or Bad Company. Similarly, Should Have Known and Any Other Way carry on this mix of frantic rock and funk and these three songs represent the very best that this Any Other Way offers, landing in this album in much the same way that Begging You became the centrepiece to The Stone Roses' Second Coming. Elsewhere, there's a surprisingly solid mix of slightly slower rock with some very assured riffing and for fans of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, taking one example, Whatever Gets You Through The Night and Chase It Away feature the same slippery guitar playing as that offered by John Frusciante.
It there is a problem with Any Other Way, it's that Brown Eye Superfly never really offer any variety across the album with one song bumping into the next. Once the first few songs pass, all of which provide a template for what is to follow, the next eight pass by without any surprise and, as a result, the second half of the album is a lot less interesting than the first.
Still, tracks like Never Made A Difference and Should Have Known show that Brown Eye Superfly have enough in their sound to stand out and should they use their affiliation with dance producers to add variety to their sound, their next album could be a genuinely exciting prospect.
Note that the Brown Eye Superfly website allows you to listen to tracks from the album in the online music section.