Review: Fuzzrod should stick to garage rock 

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Rochester foursome Fuzzrod makes garage rock — no frills and down ‘n’ dirty.

The raw quality of the music has always been the band’s greatest asset, especially when playing live. There’s the sense that singer-guitarist Karrah Teague and company would play just as loudly and with the same frenetic energy to a crowded club or an empty room.

But can Fuzzrod maintain that vibe in the recording studio? That’s the question with the band’s second album, plainly titled “II.”

The seven tracks on the record give equal time to the effortless edginess fans expect and the unexpected instrumentation that add intrigue. And while it’s cool to hear Fuzzrod stretch itself stylistically, the album’s best moments come when the band sticks to its strengths.

Teague, along with co-vocalist and guitarist Phil Shaw, bassist Brandon Henehan, and drummer Stephen Roessner, ring most true when evincing a don’t-give-a-damn attitude, and clinging to it with the stubbornness of an incorrigible punk band.

No track demonstrates this better than “Better How,” on which Teague says, as if in a stupor, “I want to feel better faster/ I want cat piss/ I want Lysol/ I want medicated breakfast/ I want to feel better.”

With three chords and and an honest accounting of living in pain, the song escalates with a defiant demand: “Don’t want chicken, I need gravy/ I want candy, fuck you, pay me/ Quit my meds and take my chances/ Dyin’ to feel better.”

This retro-punk aesthetic shows up on “My Convertible” as well, with mind-numbing deference to distortion and a spiritual nod to Joan Jett.

Heavy electronics and a creepy ’80s sensibility make “Throw you in the River” the musical equivalent of pulp cinema. “Fleetwood Trash” is a ballad by Fuzzrod’s standards. It’s hard not to picture some imaginary music video complete with a car’s headlights shining in the desert and plenty of dry ice. Sonically, the result is interesting, if self-indulgent.

“II” is uneven as a collection; the songs are much more effective as stand-alone tracks. Fuzzrod’s debut album was far more consistent in the sound world it occupied, but it was also less adventurous. It will be interesting to see what direction the band leans toward this fall, when “III” is expected to drop.

Fuzzrod plays its album release show on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Bug Jar, 219 Monroe Ave. The show is 18 and over. Doors open at 8 p.m., music starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $12 for ages 21 and over, $14 for under 21. Comfy and Broadsword play in support.

Daniel J. Kushner is CITY’s arts editor. He can be reached at [email protected].
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