Friday, September 4, 2009

Alex Chilton - Like Flies on Sherbert

The sound of Chilton's mind unraveling completely. A very fucked up and wastoid rock record, it's also a personal fave of mine and for me towers over everything else Chilton has released as a solo artist. To some of you it might sound like utter shit. Your loss.

"Like Flies On Sherbert" is one of the weirdest records in my entire collection. If you think Big Star's "Third/Sister Lovers" sounds fucked up then wait 'til you hear the former BS mainman Alex Chilton's 1980 solo 'masterpiece' of drugged up, sloppy rock 'n' roll covers and bizarre original songs.

After spending a few years in the wilderness following the break up of Big Star, Chilton staggered into the studio with a band seemingly as wasted as him and knocked out this set which, in it's chaotic 35 minutes veers from happily stoned ("Waltz Across Texas") to wired and psychotic, with Chilton screaming his lungs out over stabbing piano chords (the title track).

Elsewhere we get such treats as "My Rival" (the best song on offer) and "Boogie Shoes" in which Alex's lazy vocal deliveries are juxtaposed against guitars so bleedin' LOUD and chunky that they wouldn't go amiss on a death metal record (I kid you not!).

The nearest thing to a sane, balanced song on the album is the catchy stomper "Hey! Little Child" which features some pretty melodic guitar lines that bring back vague glimmers of early Big Star (not for long though as the song descends into near chaos with discordant piano stabs and wiry guitar solos).

"Hook Or Crook", another Chilton original, is also pretty cool while "Alligator Man" is probably the best of the covers.

Anyway, before my review gets as scrambled and incoherent as the album itself I'll wrap it up- basically if you're into shambolic garage rock or albums that sound a little bit wasted, bleary and dangerous then you'll love this." - R, Argyle

Composer, Heal Thyself!


  1. excellent, thanks so much for this. I absolutely adore it.

  2. Mano, thanks for this. I'm chasng the ghost of Alex Chilton as I wander along the ragged desert of middle age...

  3. I heard once that the definition of genius is something that takes an artist a brief period to create, and the listener a lifetime to appreciate. This record is in that category. Chilton was unraveled for sure, and in that moment he made something that, for me, has been unraveling for 20 years now.