Things are very complicated this year. There are two excellent bands with the name of (The) Fuzz. Both are special projects from previously well established musicians. There is Fuzz (without “the”) from San Francisco lead by Ty Segall, a band that has captured attention of music fans all over the world. The other Fuzz is The Fuzz, they are from Memphis and they are lead by Harlan T. Bobo. You won’t hear that much about this band in fancy web portals though, except in this one.
Harlan T. Bobo is probably one of the strongest songwriters active today. His three solo albums recorded and published between 2003 to 2010 are masterpieces of rock writing with topics ranging from rejection, to love and settling down. In 2010 Harlan on his record Sucker, Harlan proclaimed Live is sweet and we left him happy in a family setting. But this year he’s back hilariously drunk and boyishly angry and he needed another alter ego and a band to pull it off.
In the press material and in on the record cover, we learn that The Fuzz is a brainchild of Harlan’s brother Hector Bobo, but songwriting credits and vocal delivery is unmistakably Harlan. What we find on this record is a great example of Memphis rock’n’roll in its most uncurbed state. It’s loud and distorted and fun. It’s music of a drunken circus band staggering down a road, which how once someone described Jim Dickinson’s music. With masks and confused identities.
Besides Harlan T. Bobo, the record brings several other well known Memphis musicians, Steve Selvidge on bass and Doug Easley behind the studio knobs.
The record is sandwiched in between Air which irresistibly reminds me on Replacements’ Takin’ A Ride and When I Die which borrows a chant from Norwegian Wood. You will also hear a great tribute to Marc Bolan in Teen Rex. The musical ferocity is what will occupy your senses first, because it’s delivered overwhelmingly loud, but after you hear the record a couple of times, wise words of Harlan T. Bobo will make you rediscover this record again.
Few technical notes on the release. The record came out in Spain for Munster Records, so it is only available as an import in USA. The label on the cover says the the record is Made in Germany, but markings on the vinyl are more similar to the vinyls mastered and pressed in Russia. It’s a quality pressing considering that the record is so loud. I have a feeling that the vinyl is mastered from a digital mix, and it would probably sound better if it was mastered from an analog mix, if there is one around.