East Bay stalwarts Fleshies have never shied away from thumbing a collective nose at the conventions of punk rock, so the frequently irreverent tone of the group's third full-length comes as no surprise. Where past efforts have been recorded in the space of days, for Scrape the Walls
Fleshies were sequestered for extended sessions at drummer Brian Hamilton's ramshackle warehouse-space studio, developing material on a new plateau of weirdness. Opener "Brown Viking" briefly suggests an entirely different direction with its tuneful, Hüsker Dü-ish hook, but the minute-long track quickly gives way to the band's trademark edge-of-collapse fury and warped sense of humor on the careening "Potential Outlier" and "High Fiber," the latter a gleefully tasteless ode to overcoming constipation.
A mixed bag of oddball quirks surface throughout: buried, whispered vocals on the otherwise hammering "When We Were Dragons," a George Carlin sample that kicks off "Whee!" and the truly ridiculous stab at faux '80s pop "Runner's Legs" range in effect from distracting to goofily entertaining. But the band seems better served by more straightforward anthems like "Your Universe" and "Gay Holiday" that allow singer Johnny Mink's desperate, forceful delivery to push the chaos meter into the red. Still, Fleshies get props for packing more stylistic curveballs into a 35-minute record than most acts manage in an entire career.