The Phuss

On The Prowl

Written by: BW on 23/10/2014 16:02:45

There’s a little bit of fast paced rock and roll in all of us, and I personally feel that it doesn’t matter whether you are on the "razor blade and long black “over the eye” hair" side or the "singer that shouts like mad until he’s hoarse and still needs a translator" side of the metal fence. We all need that quick tempoed, in your face, fuel-injected bit of music or indeed album to stir the blood and open the eyes. I’ve had a great experience with this kind of garage rock before with The Deadheads and their recent album, which I reviewed rather highly earlier in the year. Now it is the turn of Texas trio The Phuss to take up the bi monthly mantle of fast paced tuneage. It is time to literally see what The Phuss is about (had to be done).

Listening to the singing you get a feeling of a blend between Kurt Cobain and Liam Gallagher in some places. There is that characteristic swagger that this kind of genre of music needs, but at the same time you have the emotional movement of the melodies and the natural curve at the end to match the passions contained in the music. To be fair though, Joshua Fleming does still manage to put his own stamp on the vocals, as well as seem to borrow the good bits from others to produce a good front. The songs seem to keep a good tempo for the most part, but without staying at a constant 100 miles an hour. The one thing that impresses me above all else is the fact that this is only a three piece band. They sound a lot more full on and like an accomplished group with more folk in it. That is a testament to how everything has been balanced, I’d say.

“It Hurts to Be Dead” really hits home with what I mean. You get that slight disharmony that Kobain was always well known for along with the bravado of Gallagher pushing things on, but we also have Fleming’s own little nuances and identity contained in all of this. A lot of readers of my reviews will know how much I am a firm hater in repetitive lyrics though, so if you’re like me, you should stop listening to this track after two thirds of the way as by the time the umpteenth “I WANNA DIE!” pops out his spewhole you may well be grinding your gears.

Don’t let this put you off reading on though. The rest of the album, on the whole, is pretty darned good. The majority of the album's songs ram the speed home and all of them contain that fullness that a lot of three piece bands out there seem to miss if they don’t keep an eye on what they’re doing. Looking at their influences I can see bits of The Strokes and White Stripes and even Queens of the Stone Age. I keep thinking “Songs For The Deaf” whenever I get caught up in the fast paced tracks on this album; and as I say there are plenty of them. If I have a favourite amongst them, I’d have to pick “Golden Overdrive” and this is for a few reasons. It is fast, it has a perfect tempo for toe-tapping, the vocals are strong and sassy without being incoherent and the musical part is so simplistic, yet thoroughly enjoyable.

Not all the tracks are like this though. “Hammer And Nail” leans a hell of a lot towards punk rockers like The Jam or The Sex Pistols when you have a proper listen to them. “At The Bottom” has the same beat as Green Day’s “Holiday” and gets my head thinking about that area. At least it does until the main chorus section, but once that bit passes I’m straight back in there. Most of the off-paced or lower tempo tracks are decent, but I don’t have a soft spot for the title track “On The Prowl” as a lot of the actual vocals are distorted and unrecognisable to the human ear, well, mine anyway. It shouldn’t detract as much, but it just kills any enjoyment of this song in any form whatsoever. I think if I could make things out more or even have it where my mind is able to concentrate more on the music, rather than what sounds like someone drowning in a river then I’d perhaps have a more enjoyable listen.

Taking the album as a whole entity I see a good selection of songs and some catchy tracks embedded within, but I also see the odd naivety creeping in that hopefully over time will iron itself out without losing the rawness that keeps bands like this as fresh as they are. There is enough diversity in The Phuss' material to make it an enjoyable listen whichever way you look at it, as long as you aren’t too bothered about the silly bits that creep in from time to time. I do like what The Phuss are doing and I also like the way they’re going with a lot of their material standing up well. I’m not QUITE getting that same buzz that I got from The Deadheads though. I just felt their stuff packed just a bit more into each fibre than this does.

If you are a fan of garage rock though, these guys are worth a listen or two. They tick the right boxes and do what you need to, as the album shows. There are some rough edges that need to be polished off, but it isn’t too bad for only a couple of albums in. They’re not fully 'On The Prowl' yet, but they’re certainly getting ready to start.

7

Download: Golden Overdrive, Straight Line Impala, Burn Notice
For The Fans Of: Queens of the Stoneage, White Stripes, The Strokes, The Jam
Listen: facebook.com

Release date 14.10.2014
Magnetic Eye Records


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