Release Date: May 22, 2012
Record label: Highline Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, New Wave/Post-Punk Revival
Still Flyin’ have it down. Fronted by Sean Rawlins, Still Flyin’ tell the story of Sean’s migration from Georgia and his past life in established bands Je Suis France and Masters of The Hemisphere, to a new life in San Francisco and a break from the duress of playing music with professional aspirations. So Still Flyin’ are a party band. Their debut show was as a 15 member plus reggae band.
From their start as a kind of joke reggae-meets-the-Grateful Dead mega-band (up to 16 members at one point with more joining them on-stage at times), it would have been easy to write Still Flyin' off as a kind of misguided attempt at filling a niche no one would ever want filled. Oddly though, even their first records were good in a kind of weird way thanks to the cheerful spirit and leader Sean Rawls' way with a catchy tune. Once the group began to shed members and change direction, things got more interesting.
What I first heard about Still Flyin’, way back when, was that they were an indie-ska band who were great live. Often, “don’t laugh, they’re good” was in there soon after the word “ska”. Nowadays they don’t sound like ska or reggae at all, if they ever really did. It makes sense now to think of them all along as focused on groove, whether they were playing sort-of reggae or, like now, more into synthesizers, a neo-‘80s dance groove.
Just like in his previous group, Masters of the Hemisphere, Sean Rawls has taken a while to find his stride as the leader of Still Flyin'. Back in the band's early days, their live show consisted of 15 people onstage and they played reggae-tinged pop, but thankfully they have settled into a more satisfying, '80s-inspired groove on album number two, On A Bedroom Wall. The best moments are the ones awash with sweeping waves of atmospheric synths, leaning heavily towards New Order and Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, making them worthy successors to the much-missed My Favorite, when it comes to retro-pop.