Review & Track Premiere: Fvzz Popvli, Magna Fvzz

fvzz popvli magna fvzz

[Click play above to stream ‘And Let it Die…’ from Fvzz Popvli’s Magna Fvzz. Album is out Oct. 5 on Heavy Psych Sounds.]

Roman ‘u’-averse scuzzriffers Fvzz Popvli return on a quick turnaround with their second album for Heavy Psych Sounds, Magna Fvzz. The follow-up to last year’s Fvzz Dei (discussed here) arrives after multiple rounds of touring and an appearance at Duna Jam in Sardinia and finds the fuzz of the masses taking the form of a blender of modern influences from the likes of Kadavar, Uncle Acid, Black Rainbows and Electric Wizard, as well as a swath of US West Coast heavy jams brought through a filter of distance and the three-piece’s other component elements. It’s a fascinating and enticing blend, and Fvzz Popvli — the trio of Francesco “Pootchie” Pucci (see also: Beesus and The Wisdoom), bassist Datio Palatio and drummer Doncalisto — put it all together to emerge with a burgeoning personality of their own on dug-in cuts (cvts?) like “Rvmpletvm” and opener “And Let it Die…,” the total seven-track/39-minute offering rounding out with the 12-minute closer “Magna Fvzz” with Bazu from psych rockers Giöbia sitting in on synth.

That song is led into by “Rvmpletvm” and “Cherry Bowl,” which are the only two other tracks over five minutes long, so there’s a distinct feeling of pushing further along an outward path leading into the finale, and with the uptempo garage dirt in the tones of “And Let it Die…” and the bounce and swing of the subsequent “Napoleon,” the outset of Magna Fvzz is immersive enough to make sure the listener is brought on board for the trip. “Napoleon” more fully unveils a penchant for rolling groove that the more brash leadoff hinted at, and that only lets the trio build a more fervent momentum pushing through one song into the next on the way to the instrumental closer, which, again, is where everything seems to find its far-out limit, as much as there is one, with space being endless and all that.

More than anything else, Fvzz Popvli sound like a band moving in the right direction. They’re headed toward finding a niche between their points of inspiration that is becoming their own sound, and in the meantime, an emerging sense of songwriting and aesthetic craft serves them well on this sophomore outing. Magna Fvzz is somewhat more humble (hvmble? okay, I’ll stop) in its aesthetic than the grandiose title might lead one to believe, but the willful arrogance there, the use of the superlative, doesn’t feel accidental. It speaks to an underlying influence out of classic punk — The Stooges walk by and wave — that Fvzz Popvli manifest amid the grit of Pucci and Palatio‘s tonality and the blown-out effects on the vocals. To wit, the speedy “The Deal” rolls out with bruise-leaving fuckall, its 3:35 run the shortest on the album not for any radical change in structure so much as tempo, and finds Pucci tearing into a solo that’s one of the highlights of the record and perhaps the most direct tie to the Pacific Coast underground; bands like Radio Moscow and Earthless seeming to inform its jammed-out, off-the-cuff vibe.

fvzz popvli

Following “And Let it Die…” and “Napoleon,” “The Deal” seems to be the culmination of this aspect of the band’s personality, as the remaining four-tracks will push into new territory. That’s a classic mullet of an album structure — business up front, party in the back — but Fvzz Popvli wear it like a band-logo trucker hat and bring their sound to life with due vibrancy and naturalism, an organic live feel permeating the proceedings and adding to the flow between the songs as well as the impact of them individually, each seeming to bring something different to the collection as a whole while also offering standout moments like the “na-na-na” hook of “And Let it Die…” or Doncalisto‘s kick into a gallop in the second half of “The Deal.” All of this works together to give Magna Fvzz the feel of being the work of a group in the process of coming into their own, and as with Fvzz Dei and their initial single, Lost in Time (discussed here), before it, the potential for where Fvzz Popvli might end up is writ large in this material.

Perhaps nowhere more than in the centerpiece “Get Me,” which would seem to be the gateway to the back end of Magna Fvzz and with a 4:20 runtime emits a decidedly grunge feel early on, a mellow start with Pucci‘s still-effects-drenched vocals highlighting some melody while enacting a build that launches into fuller tone shortly before the halfway point and continues to build as it goes forward, a buzzsaw lead taking hold just before the three-minute mark seeming to be the culmination of the filth-laden side of Fvzz Popvli‘s sonic persona, and Pucci‘s vocals answer back with a particularly Obornian sneer. The subsequent “Rvmpletvm” is more patient but still plenty grime-caked in its low-end fuzz, though some layered-in acoustic guitar adds nuance and a sense of subtlety one might not expect for an album that has thus far been so pointed in its intent. Thus Magna Fvzz‘s sonic expansion is underway, and “Cherry Bowl” continues it with a more direct vocal melody and swirling guitar over a swinging and hypnotic progression on a long, minute-plus fadeout leading to the title-track’s initial noise-barrage and drum-led unfolding.

I don’t know if “Magna Fvzz” itself is improvised, but even if they went into the studio with a general plan, a good deal of it would seem to be captured live, and that comes through especially with the wash of synth added to the core three-piece’s sound. One almost wishes there were vocals somewhere in its mire to tie it more to the six songs preceding, but neither would I trade the noise-barrage after seven minutes in and the final build that follows from the ground up, a nodding and resonant finish that leads to noise and a cold stop as though everyone just decided they’d gone far enough. I’m not inclined to argue. Fvzz Popvli had an encouraging debut and answer it here with a purposeful sense of creative progression underway. Their greatest impact may still be yet to come — recall the band only formed two years ago; whatever bands their members were in before, they’re still relatively new as a group — but the potential in their scvzz fvzz is right there waiting to be heard.

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One Response to “Review & Track Premiere: Fvzz Popvli, Magna Fvzz

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