Fuzz is the kind of band that makes you want to write their name in big loopy characters on your jeans. The kind of band that makes you want to take illicit substances and dig out your Blue Cheer records; to grow your hair long and possibly quit your job.
Fuzz is the scuzzed-out fuzz punk stoner trio of Charles Moothart (guitar), Roland Cosio (bass), and their best known member, Ty Segall, on the skins. This is not a case of frontman taking a break and having a laugh behind the kit, however. It turns out that Segall has played drums on quite a few releases, along his hyper prolific solo career, and he's quite an able-bodied drummer. Moothart is also a member of the Ty Segall Band, so the motives seem clear: these dudes are in it for the music. They want to write songs, and play shows, and rock out. Hard.
"Earthen Gate" starts off with some medieval Sabbath-ian minstrellry, before unleashing a pyrochasm of sludgy riffs, and the record hurtles along at this breakneck speed for most of it's length. It stops to catch it's breath for a moment with the slow plod of "What's In My Head", which features some surprisingly pretty vocal harmonies - worthy of the Fleet Foxes. It's back into the fray with "Hazemaze", though, with some shrieking worthy of legendary garage rockers The Sonics.
The whole raison d'être of this band seems centered around writing killer guitar hooks and bitchin' solos. This is no Steve Vai-wankfest, however. The beauty of the power trio is that there is ample room for every instrument to breathe and growl, and that they do. Cosio makes no bones about his love for Black Sabbath's bottom end, but he accomplishes a glorious bell-like mid-range Rickenbacker tone that just glows like cherry wood next to the gravel pile of Moothart's guitar. Ty Segall is a super tight and punchy drummer; lightning-strike fills seamlessly transform into slow grooves, blasts and ballads.
Fuzz deliver every note on their self-titled debut with a SNAP, like a dry branch in a tornado, or a leg in a hardcore pit. This is what separates a great rock 'n roll record from sloppy, slack-ass stoner imitators. Intensity. Every member of Fuzz goes for it. Every time. It'll make you want to drive fast, with the windows down. It'll make you want to play guitar.
A lot has been said from critics about the dangers of nostalgia, how our generation has nothing new to contribute. It's all downhill from here, doomed to endless degradation with decreasing fidelity, a copy of a copy of a copy. Fuzz don't care. Listening to Fuzz's debut will remind you of the uplifting power of the riff! That revelatory moment, when you first heard Sleep or High On Fire or Led Zeppelin's first record. Fuzz strips away the years of cynicism like a band-aid on a hairy knee, and yes, it might hurt a little bit, but you will bang your head.
A lot of criticism is also levelled at how much music Ty Segall puts out. If you haven't been keeping up, or are just now catching on, Fuzz is a mighty introduction to the canon. I can't wait to delve into the back catalog now, personally.
Buy the CD here or the vinyl here.
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