On first play through Dan Rico‘s “Flesh & Bone” 7-inch single, many listeners will likely be struck and dazzled by what they hear. They’ll be excited by the tone and tenor of both “Flesh & Bone” and its B-side, “Gold Volvo,” because both tracks sound tightly and classically composed, in the finest tradition of the best power pop records. That is indeed a claim that both songs on this single can make; both tracks function on a great, classic inspiration that it is possible to take too far (more on that in the discussion of “Gold Volvo” below) but, so long as one chooses to not overthink it, both sides stand as sure entries into a “new possible classics” category which never fails to excite.
The A-side song on this single (the title track) instantly sets a tone and cuts an image as the boozy R&B rhythm just staggers out and plops itself into the pleasure center of listeners’ brains like everybody’s favorite barfly at their favorite local. There really isn’t anything special about the song’s presentation, but that’s what makes it feel special and unforgettable; here, Rico effortlessly lays his heart and soul on the line before listeners for them to examine and absorb.
The mix is absolutely gorgeous; Rico’s vocal bears a bit of the irony that listeners normally expect to hear wafting out of Palm Desert these days, but the effects and production offer a warmth (the vocal sounds like it has old-school, spring reverb or tape-slap echo applied) which is as impossible to fake as it is to deny. Likewise, the vocals and melody adhere to a decidedly vintage, soulful sound borne of the seventies. Lines like “My baby’s my witness, my baby’s my style” and the stuttering repetition of the title lyric are positively of-a-different-era, but timeless too in that they still sound fresh and anthemic. The sawing, modal “Not quite Neil Young” vibe and nature of the guitar solo which enters understatedly at the two-minute mark echoes that same place and time period too, and nicely adds some intensity to the song’s overall flavor too.
The vintage vibes continue seamlessly on the single’s flip-side and, while some critics may scoff and dismiss “Gold Volvo” as derivative (the instrumental track and chord progression bear more than a slight resemblance to “Waiting For The Man” by the Velvet Underground), it’s awfully hard not to enjoy the song from start to finish – if one is possessed of the right taste and desire to just believe. For those who do want to believe, the chugging but lean guitar figure which pushes “Gold Volvo” along will simply hit them in the collective face like a thick and saucy slice of salacious ambrosia ad, when that happens, believers will be inclined to just take it all in.
And those who do elect to take in all that Dan Rico is peddling on the “Flesh & Bone” single will find that, beyond all reasonable belief, they’ll have gotten all they needed from this single, but they’ll also find they’ve got the delightful taste of the music still lingering in their collective mouth as the needle lifts. That’s right, this single was an ample offering and leaves listeners content, but that doesn’t mean they won’t want more. It’s for that reason we can only hope Rico answers the call he put out with this single soon; this single is good but commands something more.
(Shit In Can Records)