The Super Fuzz
Hooked is available at:
The album Super Famous is available at:
Released: 19st May, 2015
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
WHEREAS a lot of my time is spent (in particular musical areas)…
including Canada; Indie music; some predictable stuff (when it comes to Rock music), today at least, there is something new- and genuinely curious. There is scant fun- when it comes to new music- as everything seems to be serious. I am not suggesting there should be a party-party (or PART-AY) atmosphere: what is wrong with lifting the mood; brining in some bonhomie- and creating smiles? Puvlic expectation enforces sounds/moods: they look for something gripping and nuanced- a lot of times, this involves serious subjects; a more downward sound. New bands- particular Rock/Pop acts- focus on traditional issues- love and heartache; personal introspection- which can be quite somber (or at best, not particular uplifting). Bands that do things differently- and have a sense of adventure and cheer- go a bit further: inject some colour and swagger; uplift the listener. I am not ‘down’ on most music: a great deal of bands/acts (I have reviewed) are very upbeat and cheery- and infuse plenty of humour (into their songs). From the U.K. (to Canada), I have heard a lot: I have experienced nothing like The Super Fuzz. Their name alone elicits smirks of insinuation: your mind theorises images and scenes- few are anything less than X-rated. Yesterday- and today to be far- I am in a bad mood: remembering the legacy of Jeff Buckley (who died on 29th May, 1997) I have been rather upset- remembering his music has made me reflect. My all-time music idol, I have been listening to his music: wondering just how he can be gone. In need of redemeption- and some essential energy- The Super Fuzz are up the challenge- one of the most immediate acts I have encountered. Based out of Miami, the guys- mature gentleman if they’ll excuse the tip-toe side-step are as follows:
Chris Alvy : Guitar, Lead Vox
Darrell Killingsworth : Bass, Vox
Todd Taulbee : Drums, Vox
Eric Sanchez : Guitar : Vox
“Described by one morning TV show host as “Scooby-Doo meets The Blues Brothers”, The Super Fuzz makes no apologies about wearing their classic rock sensibilities on their sleeve while infusing 70’s-style production reminiscent of the post-punk movement. With influences from Jellyfish and Redd Kross to The Beatles and The Beach Boys, the group’s debut CD, Art Noise, is a 12-song reflection of the their unabashed love of guitar rock and indie pop. These Miami natives have relentlessly toured their home state of Florida since their inception last year. They have performed at the Sunfest Music Festival, International Pop Overthrow, and supported touring nationals like Soul Asylum, The Smithereens, Sister Hazel, Green Jello, and a bunch of others…”
The comparison to The Blues Brothers is quite apt: the band (in photos) have that ‘look’- cool and ‘80s-inspired; Jazz-cum-Soul brothers- in search of a good time. With cigarettes hanging (from mouths); facial hair sitting proud; hats perched atop heads- they are a traditional act; good ol’-fashioned boys- guys who know how to make (good music). New names to my mind, I have been keen to check them out: see exactly why they are so good; how their pasts have progressed. In terms of Florida-based music, I am in the dark: with the exception of ‘N Sync (who was based in Orlando), who else is there? If you are American, you are more familiar: we in the U.K. get drip-fed U.S. music; great acts tend to pass us by- a lot of great music is being hidden away. Building a great reputation, the lads have a fun and crowd-uniting sound: that is not to say they are not serious contenders. Influenced by everyone from The Black Keys to The Beatles- you can hear a little (of both acts) in their songs. Few people can resist their charm and potency: The Super Fuzz is a band on a mission; crafting songs that marry vintage with brand-new; contemporary with older- thus ensuring they attract a wide array of followers. Knowing of/having reviewed Fernando Perdomo- another south Florida musical hero- I am not shocked (The Super Fuzz) are so good- this area is spawning some awesome musicians (that we all should be aware of).
Mixing Beach Boys and The Beatles- that fun, ‘60s vibe- The Super Fuzz look back at the past: make sure their music has beach-set bliss; plenty of Power-Pop grace- mixes in a modern-day centrifuge. Inspired by the early-days (The) Beatles; the Florida band put your mind (somewhere bygone and wonderful). In terms of (more modern) influences, the likes of (Ohio’s) Black Keys come through: essences of their El Camino period (shows itself across Super Famous). Sparring Blues-Rock guitars with uplifting harmonies; tying them around memorable lyrics- the Super Fuzz boys are every bit as equal (when it comes to potential and potency). Inspired by- perhaps half-jokingly; stylistically in a sense- by The Blues Brothers, there are influences of ‘50s/’60s Blues: that swing, swagger (and dance-ability) comes out in their music. Essentially, The Super Fuzz is their own band: they are one of the most distinct I have come across. They take (little shards) from the local scene- fellow musicians Fernando Perdomo count as influences (Perdomo used to be in the group- before embarking on his solo career)
When looking at their current album, it is worth looking back: to see how far the boys have come. Art Noise (their debut L.P.) was a terrific start: the 12-track collection is filled with contours, shades and emotions- packed with different themes and dreams. The title track is a perfect kick-off: heavier guitars sit with determined vocals; the song is focused and direct. This Summer’s Day is more alacritous: it has melody and relaxation- together with Rock sounds- that tempts this listener in. Songs like Something’s Missing and Born have sensitivity and introspection; Inside Job is perhaps (the album’s) finest moment. Having released A Super Fuzzy X-Mas, the band arrives with Super Famous: their second L.P. Their new material retains their core personality: all the same themes and sounds; influences and styles- yet expands upon the theme. Having developed and augmented- since their debut- the band bring in new subjects (the writing and production values are improved and at their peak); the performances are tighter too. Having upped their game- the lyrics are more addictive and memorable- the boys have fresh confidence: each track radiates and shines; there is greater depth and diversity. Whilst retaining their core- and not compromising their ethics and unique sound- the band sound stronger and more electrifying- which is guaranteed to recruit new supporters and fans. Too many bands do not make big leaps- or really make improvements from release to release- yet The Super Fuzz have grown and solidified- their music gets stronger with each passing record. If you are a fan of the aforementioned- the likes of The Beatles and Beach Boys- you will find much to love. Plenty of modernity lies in their music: from U.S. Blues-Rock to current-day Pop (the band has a kaleidoscope of sounds). Essentially, the boys mix fun and romance; drama and Rock- plenty of sunshine is in there too. Super Famous is a perfect representation of the band: an album intended to be loved by all (which it will be).
Beginning with a fuzz of guitars- a brief and blissed-out coda- the (album’s lead song) gets underway. With Alvy at the microphone, the morning routine is afoot: “I wake up in the morning/and I check that my computer’s on…” Letting his words tumble and spiral, there is a great sense of pace and urgency: in the initial stages, the band do not let the listener reflect- consequently (the album as a whole) makes an instant impression. Having a youthful vibe (to the vocals) – reminding me of Fountains of Wayne-via-Blink-182- our hero is “feeling fine.” A subject- and routine- that is close to us all; it is a song we can all relate to: how long from the time we wake, to checking emails/social media? That idea of being ‘hooked’- stuck on social media; powerless to resists its inane charm- is explored: all of us (in our own way) rely too heavily (on Facebook and social media). Not often explored (by other acts), there is that sense of Stockholm Syndrome: being hooked, but feeling at ease and unbothered. The infectious delivery is bested (only by) the vocal: Alvy delivers his words with spirit and upbeat chirp. Backed by the band- who supply a tight and delirious swirl- the song becomes seriously addictive. As it progresses, the subjects is (expanded upon): sharing his photos online, our hero is doing what he does- a life with little human contact. Having a slight edge of The Offspring- that Dexter Holland-esque sound- the band mix together ‘80s-‘90s U.S. sounds; infuse 1960s Beach Boys- top it off with modern vibes and superb production. A terrific blend of humour and pathos, the song is designed to be remembered- its simplicity and directness burrows into the brain. Our hero- after sharing his photos online- seems destined to (repeat the process) – there is that sense of necessity and dependency. Fusing together Sunshine-Pop and Punk; a little bit of Rock and you have a hypnotic smoothie- a multifarious blend of flavours and sensations. Insatiably upbeat, Hooked does what it sets out to do: have the listener hooked in; make sure you repeat (the song) over and over. Wanting to walk away and surrender- the chorus is that which is not only memorable; it is a calling-out for help- our hero is powerless: the likes (of Facebook) has him drugged. Dispensing its message in an economical manner- the song is 2:11; the link (for the track) includes the song Surprised Your Boyfriend’s Still Around– it is impressively impactful. Both fun-filled and meaningful, it is not a disposable and throw-away track: here is a song that is hugely impressive and purposeful. A personal confession- and warning sign to social media addicts- you will find yourself hitting ‘repeat’- going back and listening to the track. Pairing a catchy chorus with a nuanced composition, Hooked is apt (in every sense).
Praise must be given (to the entire band). Alvy’s vocals are light and breezy; soulful and distinct: you are hard-pushed to compare him with another. Containing shades of Power-Pop/U.S. Rock singers- without being too heavy-handed- and you have a unique sound- that does a great service to the track. The delivery is consistently impressive: filled with urgency and spirit, it adds conviction to every line. His guitar work is impressive throughout: never overpowering or encroaching, it adds great weight to proceedings- at times light and summer-like; at others heavy and squalling. Todd Taulbee’s percussion drives the song; leads from the back and keeps the spine steady: always focused and sharp, it is the heartbeat of Hooked (he also contributes backing vocals). Daniel Killingsworth lets his bass snake and strike; groove and dance: it is both authoritative and unifying. Showing himself to be an incredible player, the bass player features heavily in Hooked– and the album as a whole- making memorable impressions.
Having spoken with the band’s manager (Roman); listened to their music- and sought out their biography and influences- I am a dedicated fan. With their Power-Pop mandates- reminding me of The Beatles and The Beach Boys- together with some Blues-Rock swing (The Black Keys at their peak), you can’t go wrong- investigate the boys now. I have been busy in the U.K./Canada- and reviewing musicians here- it is nice to be back in the U.S. One of my favourite (countries for music); and exploring a new region (I hope more Florida acts step forth- not TOO many, mind). Being overly-familiar with music’s (more introverted) sounds: it is wonderful to experience sunshine and wit- something very much here-and-now. Mixing their vintage influences; together with some modern vibes- The Super Fuzz boys are on a mission. Celebrated (in their native U.S.), the band has a unique artistry: one that more should follow. I will leave with a brief thought: that which concerns new music in general. Too many bands- especially in this country- are too concerned with force (and heaviness) – there is little regard given to sunshine, humour- and something altogether lighter. Few acts manage to lighten the mood; get the people dancing- without resorting to same-same subjects; love and heartbreak etc. Employing original subject matters; going that extra mile- the Florida sun is much-welcomed here. Disintermediating their influences- by only nodding to their idols- the band whip up a summer-time feel. With (predominantly) U.K.-based acts- that play Rock and Pop- tending to play it safe (bar a special few), we need a shake-up: look towards U.S. shores; take some of their potential- and use it here. It would be good- if The Super Fuzz played here- as London would welcome them in: they are guaranteed to blow away homogenised scenes; bring their magic to the capital. Super Famous is accessible and nuanced: filled with fascinating tales; sensational scintillation- maker sure you investigate its wonders. With few weak moments; plenty of fun and glory: this is an album (we should all here). Perhaps ironically-titled, the boys are keen to keep going: play like they always have; enjoy their relative anonymity- that will not last long. When the L.P. travels abroad- and reaches us here- the band will find new faces (and great support). In a weekend that provides intermediate sunshine- and uncertain weather- I am clinging to The Super Fuzz- capable of banishing the British blues. When you consider that it is…
A very refreshing change of pace.
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