I remember reading in sounds about a band called Flesh For Lulu along with a picture of the group with their perfectly chiselled cheekbones, guyliner, and spikey shoulder-length hair I knew I had to find out more and check out what they sounded like. The Lords Of The New Church, Hanoi Rocks and Japan then it was The Alarm and once I heard FFL they fitted neatly into that Goth rock scene, with cool hair, cool guitars and said the right things to an impressionable teenager. They all had plenty of pop sensible melodies and one eye on the charts and America whilst having enough decadence to feed my post-punk rock roots.  

When I was asked to listen to these demos I couldn’t believe my luck – did I like Flesh For Lulu? Fuck me I loved them, still do. I always followed Nick Marsh and what he did next from his solo recordings to his work as the extremely cool guitarist in the Urban Voodoo Machine.  

When I slipped the CDR into the player and turned up the speakers, the sound that fell out wasn’t polished and ready for American radio songs, but a rougher grittier Rock n Roll and I like that a lot – far more appeal. As the songs flowed imagine being in the studio hearing these songs for the first time with their stripped-bare, energetic vibrant – still in love with Rock n Roll exuberance coming to life. The howling feedback makes way as the band charges through to the front and centre of the speakers sounding like an energised bonafide Keith and Ron with the chiming riff being chased by the steady rhythm section towards the chorus where Nick Marsh is smouldering like prime-time Jagger and their’s even time for some well-placed handclaps to swagger on in to get this party started. 

If this were a live set as soon as ‘Bad Dog’ opens up, you would be halfway around the hall crowd surfing on the tempo and dirty sleazy riff being thrown around your speakers. “Bad Dog Baby with a mongrel heart” it sounds like The Replacements at the peak of their game it’s that good. The breakdown is the signal to open up a wild and reckless solo before settling back into that sleazy riff. Topped off with the “I’m in control here” vocals of Marsh.  

It’s hard to believe that these are only studio demos recorded in the early 90s as a follow-up to their commercially successful ‘Plastic Fantastic’ It might not have that studio sheen and big drum production but the songs are stronger and the lack of production and quest for commercial success is part of the strength of this collection, this is Flesh For Lulu in the raw bristling with energy and just basking in the quality of the songs and the chemistry of the players.  

I look back fondly on songs like ‘House Of Cards’ and the beauty of ‘Choosing You’ but this might just blow the past releases out of the water, and it must have been a ‘Cosmic Mind Fuck’ listening back to this collection knowing how bloody good they are and to think they were buried unfound for years in an attic! God Forbid.  

‘Mona Lisa’ begins with Marsh rinsing his guitar of every bead of sweat and tear whilst singing his melody before the band kicks in and rolls on down the line with a great number. I love the chorus s got a familiarity about it with Marsh sounding like Squeeze borrowing a Bob Dylan melody rockin’ out without a care in the world. What a fantastic tune, its bordering true crime that this was buried with every chance it would never see the light of day. The way it rolls into the bombastic rocker that is ‘Temptation’ shows a very different side to the band and their songwriting less melody and more gutsy hard rock with the guitars lurching from the big acoustic strummed chords to the howling snarling dog on a leash of the wah pedal electric guitar. 

As if to cool down and shift gears the acoustic guitars are front and centre for the gentle relaxed wheeze that is ‘Too Much’ A totally different style to the previous songs. A gentler song with some sweet saxophone added for good measure and a song you can imagine being dusted down and given a lick of sheen to be a hit at the right time and place.

‘Turn’ is more uptempo but paves the way to the majestic ‘Love Came Easy’ that goes heavy on the gang vocals in a Primal Scream kinda way and I’m sure Gillespie would have loved to have written this as the band stride between that 90s brit rock that went down and the swagger or classic Stones hitting America and rocking the shit out of those stadiums. All the swagger and we’re diving straight into the hardest Rocker the band ever dished up, ‘Baby Wanna Go Go’ its a foot on the wedge and rock! thing. From the big swinging snare and bass drum pound to the thumping bass line driving the song on for the guitars to plough through with those big chords.

I alluded earlier that this collection of songs plays out like a studio rehearsal/live show and the way it weaves into ‘All Undone’ with a band heading into the home straight its excellent. Whoever decided on the running order nailed the ebb and flow and the work of a band at the top of their game demonstrating all their qualities and influences which they’re proud to wear on their sleeves From T Rex to the Stones to Bowie and a melting pot of bands in between Flesh For Lulu are blowing me away with what they kept under the bed.

As we head into the final knockings of this remarkable collection we take a breather with the delicious balladry of ‘In And Out Of You’ from the piano chops to the poignant harmonica it’s a welcome moment to reflect and see another side to the band’s body of work.

Right Fag break over its time for the encore and ‘Stay Close’ struts in on a big distorted guitar lick before the vocals take over wrapped up in the comford blanket of another big riff. The kiss goodbye is the acoustic ‘Let It Shine’ where Nick Marsh sings with his velvet n gasoline vocal through the gentler intro into the rocker that takes over. He goes through the gears before its done. We say goodnight to a remarkable album that I feel privileged to have heard and lived with for weeks and months alongside the already released catalogue of material this is a magnificent way to sign off. The people involved in getting these songs from the loft to the speakers around the world should feel very pleased and proud of themselves for ‘Cosmic Mind Fuck’ is an absolute gem of an album and if you truly believe in Rock and Roll then this should already be part of your pre-orders and a most welcome addition to any record collectors centrepiece. Nick Marsh was an extraordinary talent that is sadly missed by many as the tribute that accompanies this release testifies but let’s celebrate the fact he walked and worked amongst us and left behind an amazing body of work that should be played loudly and celebrated everywhere – Flesh For Lulu were one hell of a band and ‘Cosmic Mind Fuck’ leaves me in no doubt that they left the best til last – Quite Simply buy this album! Posthumous recordings quite often fill gaps in a collection however this certainly doesn’t merely fill a gap it breathes new life into a band and shows off how damn good they were and with a fair wind could have been huge everywhere. Rest easy Nick your legacy is safe with ‘Cosmic Mind Fuck’.

Buy Here

Author: Dom Daley