Fuzz – II

Fuzz is basically Ty Segall’s side project band, the “heavy” band. And Fuzz’s heaviness is psychedelic heaviness, the bluesy, meandering heaviness of proto-metal bands like Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer and Mountain. In other words, Fuzz is more or less stoner rock.

Everybody knows that already, right? Here I’m acknowledging the proverbial elephant in the room from the outset in the misguided hope that my review will go somewhere at least a wee bit different from all the others. I hope it wasn’t too painful or redundant. Now that we’ve gotten the above givens over with, let’s proceed with the review.

Fuzz II  rocks – and rolls. Yeah, it’s got a bit of a harder edge than the usual Ty Segall fare. But, ultimately, Fuzz II is just another deftly written chapter in the ever-expanding Segall canon.

Fuzz is said to be a “band,” a group effort – and it may well be. I mean, all of the different guys sing on different songs. And Segall is (quite capably, thank you) drumming instead of playing guitar. The “other guys” (guitarist Charles Moothart and bassist Chad Ubovich) are great players and great singers. The funny thing is, the other guys play and sing like Ty Segall plays and sings. So, while Fuzz II isn’t exactly led or written solely by Segall, it sounds exactly like a Ty Segall album – with the slightest bit different spin, that is.

What we have here, in a nutshell, is Ty Segall’s revisionist upgrade of Black Sabbath’s debut album. I only wish that Fuzz II was more like Paranoid and less like Sabbath’s debut. Sure, Black Sabbath and Fuzz II are both cool albums. But both albums are burdened by too much jamming. Yeah, they’re all (both Sabbath and Fuzz) great players and everything – but technical proficiency can (and often does) lead to extended jams that are probably more fun for the player than the listener.

As usual, Segall’s weak suit is in the editing department. Fuzz II has several great songs – but the songs just run too long. What might’ve been a smash 30-minute album is instead a solid but somewhat flawed and meandering 50-something minute album – just like Sabbath’s debut.

Still, there are ample payoffs in Fuzz II’s meandering journey. Like the rest of Segall’s oeuvre, strong melodies are bolstered by an understanding of/respect for classic rock that is in no way pandering or complicated by the usual postmodern irony. In other words, Segall & Co.’s replication of a classic musical era isn’t kitsch. These guys know a good riff.

[In the Red]