It was a pretty big deal in the underground rock community when fIREHOSE
made the jump from an independent record label to a major one (Columbia) with their fourth full-length record, 1991's Flyin' the Flannel
. But fans shouldn't have worried; the trio didn't change its sound to fit its new label, although the songwriting did become more succinct, which only improved the album's outstanding 16 tracks (resulting in fIREHOSE
's finest album). The album-opening anthem, "Down With the Bass," is a Mike Watt
tribute to his beloved four-string, while the band rocks out throughout the album: "Up Finnegan's Ladder," "Can't Believe," the title track, "O'er the Town of Pedro," "The First Cuss," "Anti-Misogyny Maneuver," and "Town' the Line" are all standouts. Like all fIREHOSE
albums, Flyin' the Flannel
includes its share of soothing moments, such as "Toolin'," "Walking the Cow," the downtrodden album closer "Losers, Boozers, and Heroes," and perhaps the best song on the album, the swirling jazz of "Epoxy, for Example." Flyin' the Flannel
is one of the great lost rock gems of the '90s. Super highly recommended.