Brighton-based Fuji Heavy are not what I expected. There is a lot of retro around at the moment (especially in London) and by its very nature, its a very distilled affair with valvey guitars, nicotine induced vocals, and somewhat predictable songs. One might say that some retro bands are intense purists who wouldn’t approve of a guitar less than 40 years old and insist on at a minimum of one-third facial hair coverage.
The first thirty seconds of ‘Sunburn’ throws all that out of the window in a torrent of dirty pond water. Intense guitar chords, random spikey notes, keyboard in the chorus, and enough gain to fry a sound engineer is the order of the day.
There are still some recognisable elements in the sound, including the vocal, which is almost Hives-esque in nature, and the bass, which pumps out some great rhythms. However, Fuji Heavy are obviously uninhibited by any stylistic constraints when they lay down a record.
‘Face Like a Criminal’ continues the theme, embracing and defying the retro sound simultaneously; adding their stamp to a song that could have revolutionised the Brit Pop era. The vocal takes a different path in this song, with a cheeky spoken element that suits the lyrics.
Third track, ‘Glitterama’, has a rhythm that (as the title suggests) conjures up the 70’s Glam Rock era. However, this isn’t a tribute to Glam having distinctly rock ‘n’ roll guitars and chorus with big cymbal crashing drumming backing everything up.
Fuji Heavy haven’t necessarily invented a genre with this record, it’s more a case of taking one or two that already exist and screwing them up in to a paper ball to throw at teacher when he’s not looking. Delightfully playful and actually rather good.
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