Monday, May 23, 2011

New Album: The Atomic Bitchwax - The Local Fuzz

If you've been keeping up with The Guide, you would have already read my discovery that I don't like The Atomic Bitchwax nearly as much as previously thought. Although I still find that shocking, I think it's time to move on, and the best way to do that is to review the act's latest release, The Local Fuzz. You will see some mention of this album being and EP/LP, and that is because of some general confusion of what it is to be either. One song, forty minutes in length, no words... I'd call it an EP, but others disagree. Whatever the case, it makes for an interesting listen (I hope).

The song/LP/EP kicks off with a flash; some groovy, moving bass lines, accompanying drums and a crazy-sophisticated guitar lick over it all. It's all a little repetitive, but whenever it seems to be getting a little dull TAB switches the melody in some fashion, which helps keep it alive. The changes are minute enough to not sound out of place, but they have enough of a difference/change to be noticed, for your brain to still focus on the song at hand.

At around the fourteen minute mark the song takes a significant stylistic change, sounding like a new song is beginning. For the short while it all slows down, with less emphasis on the frantic guitar and drum work of the past section. This only is maintained for a minute or so before the band all comes together, but the music following isn't wholly like the beginning of the track; there are sections of quick guitar work, but it's inter-spliced with slower jam sessions. It really feels like a different song, which is awesome for a song like this.

Once again, twenty-three minutes in, there is a massive stylistic change. Moving away from the stoner/groove/jam back-and-forths, this time TAB slows it all down, into a sort of psychedelic-induced-coma. The tempo is way down, the guitars, bass and drums all become much more calm and reserved, with no freak out sections of the past. After a few minutes of this, the song begins a build-up, again not to the level heard before, but the tempo is slowly increased, instruments begin to get more pronounced and some of the fast moving guitar work creeps in. Culminating at minute twenty nine, where it all fades back into the psychedelic jam, just like back at the beginning of this paragraph.

"The Local Fuzz" continues this psychedelia-jam into a build up back to jam for quite some time. There a couple of interesting breakdowns in there, but on the whole it's most of the same. That all changes close to the end, around thirty-eight minutes in, where this time, when the song cycles down, instead of coming back in the same fashion, it's a return to the second style held within this mega-track. Back is the stoner/groove/jam of the third paragraph above. And this is the style that wraps up the song, the LP, the latest from The Atomic Bitchwax.

The Local Fuzz is something different, from either The Atomic Bitchwax or from what you'd normally expect from a stoner band. The one, forty-plus minute song is a rollercoaster ride between styles and genres of stoner music. There is a little of the old/original style of stoner, the psychedelic sounds, and something from the more modern era, the jam/guitar heavy bits. With the LP/EP (whatever you want to call it) being only one song - and an instrumental one at that - I'm really surprised with how well the act pulled it off. I didn't really find myself being bored too much through it, something that is the bane of both instrumental tracks and overwhelmingly long songs. TAB kept the music flowing and evolving enough to keep my attention throughout most of the song. There were a few sections that lagged behind the rest, but fortunately the song had enough changes of style close together for that to never be a real problem. While this isn't my favorite album by The Atomic Bitchwax, it is definitely up there (of course as we have seen, that is a bit of a low bar), and I'd suggest giving it at least one try.

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