Thursday, 24 October 2013

Chilean Fuzz II Compilation (album review)

Spicy cover artwork by Christian Spencer.

With the holiday season lurking just around the corner, everyday life has you stressed.  Petty bosses, bitchy co-workers, mouthy kids, disobedient pets, disinterested spouse; it's enough to finally push you over the edge!  Why not take a stoned trip down to Fuzz Country?  That's right, for just a single American dollar you can luxuriate in the finest of fuzz at a 20-star resort designed by renowned fuzz architect Christian Spencer (of the firm Barbara y Los Rotos Del Rock).  Bask in the desert heat, fall into the sun and enjoy a relaxing swim, or go paragliding with Icarvs!  Thirsty?  No problem, Savannah has you covered, which type of blood do you prefer?  It's all on tap from A to O and back to AB.  So, what are you waiting for?  Come on down and find out what all the fuzz is about!
*this is not a paid advertisement.  Chilean Fuzz is not responsible for accidental death.  Some restrictions may apply, see coupon for details.


Now, a return engagement.  How can I stay away from the Land of Fuzz?  The last Chilean Fuzz was an absolute treasure trove of riffs and a welcome stack of homework of bands to discover (see review here).  A couple short weeks ago Chilean Fuzz II: The Sequel landed in the collective lap of the universe like a surprise gift from the fuzz gods, and I for one was not upset about this at all.

Once again, I can't help but marvel at the never-ending crop of bands the country yields.  Soponcio opens things up and officially joins the ranks of incredible CF Comp discoveries alongside Lisergico, Bruto, Piedraseca, Chevy, Acido and Perro Loco from the first volume.  They were present on volume I, but really shine through here with "Vena".  Other songs from new Chilean Fuzz bands to blow your mind to come from Savannah with "Blood Drinker".  The band Convoy has an absolute barnburner on this one and the punkish selection from Dosis does its part to bring the house down.  The last couple tracks on the album by Mosto and Bagual are absolute pounders.

Some of the new Chilean Fuzz Comp bands are a little rough around the edges in recording and delivery (see Turbo Diesel & Kayros) but add the matte finish of grit-encrusted coal to a largely polished collection of gems.  Barbara y Los Rotos Del Rock are a more established band but add to the roughness with "Stereoparanoico" (love that title!), the first new sounds from the band since their excellent EP from February 2012 (review here).  We've not heard them rougher or readier than this before.

As for the rest of the veteran presence we've got the aforementioned Barbara y Los Rotos Del Rock, Piedraseca, Icarus Gasoline, Chevy, Bruto with an unassailable highlight from their new album and the immortal At Devil Dirt.  I wanted to talk a bit about At Devil Dirt's contribution, "There Is Not a God Or a Devil" from the new album, but I'll elect to wait for the ADD review.  It's songs like this though, that create added value to the collection as you get a preview of the unreleased new album from one of the truly great bands in the world.  Not just anybody can bring you that!  Piedraseca continues to stand out with dangerous grooves on "Perdidos en el Desierto".  If I was slightly on the fence about this band I'm not anymore, I place them among Chile's elite fuzz bands and continue to hope for a full-length sometime in the relatively near future.  And my goodness, speaking of the country's elite, Icarus Gasoline's number "Roma en el Sol" is a laidback monster of groove.  Recalling perhaps some of the subtler, sexier moments of ZZ Top, you can almost see the desert sunshine blaze through your squinting eyes with this one playing.

It speaks volumes about the current state of the Chilean fuzz rock scene that Mr. Spencer can put together two such compilations of 20 (or more) songs each with very little overlap in terms of the bands that appear on these things within the space of a single year.  Volume II may not be as strong overall as its predecessor but is still stuffed with highlights.  And it all fits on a single CD, which is a plus for some of us.  If you're still under the impression that all the best fuzz bands in the world hail from Europe and North America it's time to get with the program.  Book a fuzz holiday with your travel agent and go on down to the land of fuzz.

Highlights include: "There Is Not a God Or Devil" by At Devil Dirt and "Perdidos en el Desierto" by Piedraseca

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 1:17:57

Genre: Stoner, Desert Rock, Doom

Release Date: October 2, 2013

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