Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Fuzztones: Horny As Hell!

The Fuzztones

Horny As Hell
No Fun Records

As much as I "dig the new breed", leave it to a band that's been around for three decades to rewrite garage rock, make it bigger, louder, and give it a whole lot more soul. Since The Fuzztones are mainly known as a "garage punk" act, adding a horn section, female backing singers, and trading the Vox for a Hammond B3 is pretty ambitious. The opening cover of "Garden of My Mind" by Mickey Finn rearranges the raw sound of the original with super loud horns and a much more exciting vocal treatment from lead vox Rudi Protrudi, but the backing female vocals give it an upbeat, Motown vibe that's got so much soul that it's sinful. Followed up witha Fuzztones staple "Bad News Travels Fast", which grooves and swings heavier than the original recording, and you get a garage/soul/ghoul rockin' heaven that anyone would be hard pressed to even pause for a moment. The blazing saxophone treatment on "Brand New Man" might come as a shock to some devotees, but it's honestly not that radical. Afterall, The Sonics have a sax player, too. Another fascinating high note on Horny as Hell is the added swing in the ? and The Mysterians cover "Girl, You Captivate Me" with a "cooler" but older toned organ from Lana Loveland that retains a psychedelic buildup.

Horny as Hell is full of notables. "Third Time's a Charm" has equal parts fuzz and wailing, almost funky guitar while "Be Forewarned" is thick in deep, dark blues and works to bare Rudi's, soul as an unrivaled, powerful vocalist. The cover of The Moving Sidewalks "99th Floor" is both sweet and dirty with guitar licks. This is followed up with The Pretty Things "Alexander", which lays on the backing female vocals enough to make it sound like classic Motown. Very few can ponder the thought of monster fuzz with blasts of brass, but "Black Lightning Light" pulls it off with a thick, swampy feel then adds eerie keys over it to get every zombie rocker moving. An overall accomplishment of Horny As Hell is the ultimate mixture of soul, fuzz, and garage punk. The songs sometimes sound vintage enough that one can imagine swinging to it, but the added snarls, howls, and overall madness of The Fuzztones fuse the elements to create new standards on songs like "Yeah Babe". It's not a nicely done experiment, but a bold move by one of the few acts good enough to make it incredible. It sounds like vintage soul, psychedelic fuzz, and garage concocted into a tasty, mind and ear blowing trip that will definitely leave one a changed person after they come down.

One can't go without mentioning the "new" version of The Fuzztones most popular song "Ward 81." The vocal introduction, the saxes that just add to the insanity, the backing vocals that add the sadness and desperation more effectively, the crashing drums, and the lyric "Gotta flip a switch, pull out the stitches" that many of us might have used to express ourselves (metaphorically) will leave one screaming them as though they're an angry teenager. "She's Wicked", another staple, will make everyone realize where many of their favorite acts got their inspiration from.

We've all heard of The Fuzztones, but limited press and distribution has placed them in obscurity even though they have over 70 releases to date. For those not familiar with them, Horny as Hell is a fine introduction to the realm of skull and crossed Vox guitars! For you loyal fans already initiated, tune in, turn on, and fuzz out!

Horny as Hell is a available at your finer indie record store. If they don't have it, they need an education, but in that case, you can buy it directly in either vinyl or CD from No Fun Records, a great label out of Detroit, MI with truly worldwide garage rock origins. Other notables who call the label home are Los Peyotes, The Dials, The Avatars and Los Kahunas. They've also got some exciting new acts and releases coming out this year. Although I'm partial to vinyl, the CD version of Horny as Hell has a bonus track "Caught You Red Handed" featuring Mark Lindsay from Paul Revere and The Raiders.


"She's Wicked"



Video courtesy of electricbanana69

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