Monday, April 6, 2020

Duff Guide to Ska Fast Take: Flying Vipers "Nervous Breakdub (Pandemic Version)" b/w "PMA Calling"

The cover is an illustration of a Frankenstein-like man with a large fist facing off against a menacing winged viper.Music A.D.D.
Digital single

(Review by Steve Shafer)

While much of the nation--and world--is under heavy coronavirus manners, John and Marc Beaudette of the Boston dub unit Flying Vipers (and reggae-rock band Destroy Babylon) have revisited their really fantastic take on Black Flag's debut Nervous Breakdown EP (which we reviewed last year) with their new digital single "Nervous Breakdub (Pandemic Version)" b/w "PMA Calling." The pandemic version is even better than Flying Vipers' already great first run at this--its now distorted bass more punky and dirty and ballsy, and the use of the forever-locked-in-the-'70s sounds of the Odyssey synthesizer (think of the theme music for the "In Search of..." TV show hosted by Spock) provides a crisp, just shy of cheesy retro-futuristic contrast that works brilliantly. As you might of guessed, "PMA Calling" is Bad Brains-related; it's Flying Vipers' cover of BB's "Jah Calling" from their yellow ROIR tape (Bad Brain's debut release in '82), which turned on John Beaudette and countless other budding American teen punk rockers to reggae (and blew so many people's minds that Bad Brains could play both hardcore and roots reggae so damn well). Flying Vipers again make terrific use of the Odyssey synth with spaced-out sounds that soothe the stressed-out mind/body and float above the insistent, ever forward moving rhythm section (I'd listen to this in a sensory deprivation tank!). These stellar tracks will greatly enhance your lockdown playlist and help keep you going during dark and uncertain times.

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