Psych rock’s one man army Ty Segall seems to have a new album out in some guise about once a fortnight and as a consequence I’ve given up trying to keep up with them all. One release, however, that did catch my ear was “Fuzz” the eponymous album from the band of the same name to which ‘II’ is obviously the follow up. Fuzz are rounded out by Charles Moothart on guitars and vocals and now include Chad Ubovich of Meatbodies on bass and vocals. Annoyingly, Segall plays drums in this noisy trio, despite establishing himself as a top notch six string bender and is just as brilliant behind the kit. Their debut was a shortish sharp shock of brutal, psych rock, full of speaker-busting fuzzy explosions of guitar and drum kit abuse. This time around the band have produced a double album, with many more stylistic ingredients, albeit most of them still married to a familiar, glam-tinged stoner rock stomp. Almost inevitably ”II” outstays it’s welcome and edited down to a single album it would be fantastic, as it is it suffers from a slump midway through. There are no bad songs here, just a surfeit of over-used Sabbath worshipping moments where the band seem to forget themselves and just paddle unselfconsciously about in the safe waters of pastiche.
It starts off intriguingly enough with seven minute mini-opus ‘Time Collapse/The 7th Terror’, all heavy late-era Sweet mixed with the sci-fi paranoia of Spiders From Mars. ‘Rat Race’ is a sneery, garage punk which Fuzz can probably do in their sleep, but which is none-the-less absolutely top quality stuff. Less predictable is next up ‘Let It Live’ on which more weirdness appears and has a very early English psych feel with a melody virtually stolen from Status Quo‘s ‘Pictures of Matchstick Men’ – although the vocals contain a harder edge – a Liam Gallagher esque yobby drawl from Moothart. The introduction of furiously sawing violins near then end adds to an air of freewheeling invention.
It’s when we get to ‘Pollinate’ that the Sabbath worship begins in earnest. Huddled together in a sort of stroppy gang, the pick of the bunch is ‘Bringer of Light’ which has the same fetid air and creepy, nasal and bloodless vocal style as Uncle Acid, which at least makes it very good Sabbath worship. By ‘Pipe’ (this one with added bong smoke a la Sleep), as the band sing of ‘incantations‘ it really is getting a bit much now. And then ‘Say Hello’ again conjures a sound akin Liam Gallagher fronting a heavier act like, oh I don’t know, maybe Black Sabbath, surprisingly?! Well, I think we’ve all had enough of that now haven’t we?!
Thankfully the feral hardcore of ‘Red Flag’ acts as a wake up call for an album in danger of slipping into a serious nod scene. A run of more interesting numbers follow -‘New Flesh’ is stoner sci-fi with a very strong harmonic thrust and then ‘Sleestack’- which sounds like Can doing a 70s spy TV theme featuring awesome on the money krautrock drumming from Segall. ‘Silent Sits The Dustbowl’ starts as sleepy psych and moves into a medieval reverie of sorts before kicking off into stoner doom. It is crunchy and theatrically performed but doesn’t quite match up to the earlier intriguing passages.
The fourteen minute title track ‘II’ ends proceedings and the band stop trying to be clever and boundary pushing and just rage and jam again. It ebbs and flows without truly becoming the gripping rollercoaster ride Fuzz are striving for. The same could be said of the album as a whole I suppose but it contains more than enough raging guitar action to warrant any self-respecting rock fans attention.