Do you like Black Sabbath and proggy psychedelia? Then go listen to Fuzz II!
The power-trio return with their second record which brings over an hours worth of chunky riffs, spacey grooves and some good old-fashioned head banging. While nothing on Fuzz II is mind-blowingly original, it’s so fun that it doesn’t matter. The constant barrage of distorted licks, trance-inducing grooves and overdriven Ozzy-esque vocals are enough to make you lose your head, making the record a truly visceral experience.
Despite this, there are moments of an almost spiritual mellow on “Say Hello” and “Silent Sits the Dust Bowl,” the latter which features gorgeous, washed out chords and trippy violins before breaking back into the psychedelic fuzz freak-outs, at which point the simple lyric of “devastation” says everything it needs to sum up the song. The few moments of calm are balanced by some seriously sludgy dirges, with tracks like “Pollinate” bordering on stoner-rock. Much of the album joyously acts as a time-machine, bringing the listener right back to the seventies in a fun and engaging way, delighting us with now-classic tropes that never sound like they’re trying too hard. The recording itself is good enough that it’s rarely off-putting, but lively enough to never give away its modern origins.
Despite this, songs like “Red Flag” and “Sleestak” show off the upbeat, punkier side of the band, and the mellower moments of the album provide enough variety and dynamics to maintain interest across all fourteen songs. While many of the tracks are familiar enough to be swapped out/skipped over without making too much of an emotional impact on the record, I doubt there are many people that would, since the three musicians are good enough to keep the whole thing exciting. While Ty Segall, who handles drums and vocals for the group gets the most press due to his impressive amount of solo work, Roland Cosio’s bass grooves are spot on and Charles Moothart’s guitars easily steal the show, reminding us of the great guitar excesses of the 70’s in the best way possible.
The title track is a near-fourteen-minute jam that starts off as punk before venturing into the depths of psychedelia and back via intense riffage and heavy grooves. When they build themselves into a brick wall (about 12 minutes in), they cut the tape, add some reversed guitar feedback and suddenly, we’re back to the punkish jam that started it all before they take their time ending the damn thing.
All in all, it’s hard to judge a record like Fuzz II. Is it the best record of the year? Certainly not. Is it emotionally cathartic? Nope. Does it break new ground and carve a new path for music? No, we’ve heard all of this before. That said, it does exactly what it sets out to do, and goes about it with an energy and excitement that is missing from a lot of modern music. It’s actually hard to believe this record wasn’t made in the 70’s, and for that, it deserves applause. As someone who is rarely into extended solos and psychedelic jams, Fuzz II makes listening to three guys rock the fuck out fun again.