Don’t know what’s going on with this record. It’s a mess. ‘Neon Leon’ – one song in – is where the uncertainty starts. It sounds like the Fuzzrays are trying to be Blur but it’s fuzzed as hell.
And that’s garage. Been that way since teens across the USA got together in the wake of the British Invasion, took to their garages and went about trying to be The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. They failed of course and, in the process, created something completely their own. Throwing in a hint of surf and later, at the tail end the whole thing, some psychedelia, many recorded by modest means. They cut singles of which all but a few enjoyed any kind of success.
That’s the myth of it anyway. The truth is just as compelling. ‘Garage’ was a term invented by people in the ‘70s to talk about bands from the ‘60s while they were waiting for punk. Obsessives like Nuggets complier and Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye and others traced this partly fictionalised narrative to pull together a sprawling heap of inspired amateurs and also rans into a bigger myth.
The Fuzzrays are part of that. They’re just cutting a record as best they can in the image of whatever heroes held closest. As their debut record’s associated press points out they’re inspired by the Thee Oh Sees. But as one of their vocalists hails from the UK they’ve been exposed to the Britpop phenomena and all it’s begotten as well. The rest of the cohort are from Melbourne and yeah, they’re in their teens.
‘Bank’. These riffs are crashing. Dirty too. But the material never fails to put it across.
‘El Pie’ flashes as an adrenaline soaked moment of fun before ‘Aoi’ slows it down. ‘Kimmy Wong’ buzzes with raucous inanity and plays out atop a Nuggets style groove. ‘Marshall Applewhite’ almost threatens to be a song but never quite makes it. This fragment of a closer sends it all away on a thirty second spate of scuzz.
So another gangly group of four trying to make music not war. They may not be sure exactly they’re doing but by gauzing the proceedings over with gallant fuzz they've made it righteous. And actually, they’re pretty tight.
Words by Riley Fitzgerald