Flo & Eddie, The Phlorescent Leech & Eddie / Flo & Eddie

Steve Hochman

By Steve Hochman

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

A pair of plushly upholstered pop parodists — no, not Tenacious D, but Flo & Eddie aka Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan, aka the core of ’60s pop glorifiers the Turtles, aka Frank Zappa sidekicks (with whom they perpetrated such scatological fare as the Zep/groupie legend “The Mud Shark”). But where the D's Jack and Kyle merely think they're hot poop, Volman and Kaylan really were: whatever the shtick, these two guys were in love with, and talented enough to make, pop music in its most glorious forms. And the first two albums made after their Zappa stint are full of glorious progressive-pop, at once pure and ambitious.

Former Turtles and Zappa collaborators infuse their rock-pop with a heavy dose of quirk.

The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie in particular is wonder-loaded, from the mini-epic “It Never Happened” (somewhere between Graham Nash's “Chicago” and the early Eagles'Hollywood-western ballads) to “Strange Girl” (harmony-layered mythos the D would kill for), with arrangements both complex and appealing. There are grand ideas made flesh by an ace band anchored by drummer Ansley Dunbar and the leaders'impeccable vocals, even in the sillier moments (the benedictory “Flo & Eddie Theme,” the South Seas side-trip “Nikki Hoi”). The 1973 second album (produced by Bob Ezrin of Alice Cooper and The Wall fame) is more scattered with a bump in comedy (“The Original Soundtrack from ‘Carlos and the Bull',” “The Sanzini Bros.”) and covers (a lush take on the Kinks'tender “Days,” a giddy “The Best Part of Breaking Up”), but the evermore-relevant “Another Pop Star's Life” and the extended, progtastic closer “Marmendy Mill” still today are sharp examples of art and pop living happy together.