No one is credited as producer of the Fleshtones’ 19th album. The credit reads “recorded and mixed” in studios in Detroit and the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and while it’s just a footnote in the credits, it plays out as one smart move for this time-tested garage band. “Take a Good Look” is raw and melodically powerful, a party of an album devoid of gloss as it sounds like the tape player was turned on and the band let ‘er rip. They ape “Sticky Fingers”-era Stones for a tune and have a track that’s mighty close to the Yardbirds’ “A Certain Girl,” but otherwise every tune unfolds like an amalgamation of every punk who set up a four-track recorder in their garage in the 1960s.
More refined and focused than when they started in the New York borough of Queens three decades ago, “Take a Good Look” deserves a spot alongside their 1982 debut as the band’s finest work. Unlike so many of their contemporaries, album never loses steam, playing as strong in the middle and end as it does in the beginning. A three-song stretch — “Love Yourself,” “Back to School” and “This Time Josephine” — is as potent a 1, 2, 3 string as we have ever heard from these guys, still best known for their “American Beat” single from the early ’80s. It’s unabashed party rock ‘n’ roll, expertly composed and executed; in a perfect world, “Jet Set Fleshtones” would be on every car radio all summer long.