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Review - Bastards of Fate - Who's A Fuzzy Buddy?

High Weirdness Makes For Your Next Favorite Party Album

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Bastards of Fate

Who's A Fuzzy Buddy?

This Will Be Our Summer Records
Roanoke, Virginia's The Bastards of Fate are a bizarre concoction, an amalgamation of lo-fi psychedelica, solid pop hooks, odd sound samples, crushing beats and a liberal amount of sheer weirdness that all combine to make their debut album, Who's A Fuzzy Buddy, an exciting innovative record that will appeal to fans of neopsychedlic bands like the Flaming Lips as well as followers of bands like Jesus Lizard and has a solid chance of being your newest favorite party album.

Formed in 2006, the band's bio is loaded with tragic obstacles that would have crushed a lesser outfit. Bannings from venues, a fire in on practice space and robbery in another, it would seem that fate may have been conspiring to keep the Bastards down. But perhaps it was instead forcing them to forge as strong as sound as possible before unleashing their debut on the world. And truth be told, it's a solid debut.

The album's opener, "Digging Up Dinasaurs," is feel-good bit of bluesy psychedelica with farfisa that melds with harmonica and somehow accomplishes a sound that's both a big and anthemic and warm and initmate. It's like it's part of a front porch jam, but that porch is sitting on the stage of a massive arena, and just when the track gains its full momentum, its allowed to descend in to chaos long enough to then be rebuilt, just like the dinosaurs being assembled in the lyrics.

That sound would be enough to give Who's A Fuzzy Buddy a following of at least cult status, but it's not the only sound the band offers up. "Oedipus Rex" is a funky dose with some high weirdness - and I mean seriously high weirdness - that visits just long enough to disrupt the song's cohesion and to challenge you a bit. "Harlequin Fetus" is a frantic combo of bizarre noise collages and raging frenetic energy that sounds like a Mike Patton project mashed with the noisy swarm of Triclops!

Beneath all the warped ornamentation is a solid pop sensibility - the band knows enough to be able to sound like every other band. Sticking with that frame, they could have been admirable and bland, well known and wealthy on the college alt rock scene, but because they don't play it safe, their music has achieved a status above that, a realm of weird experimental soundscapes with delicious, warm hooks.

"Impossible Feelings" and "Huge Magic" are poppy lounge sojourns with spaced-out instrumentation that serve as a bit of a mid-album breather to lighten the mood a bit, before The Bastards slide into "Spaceheater," a track with an apt name, comprised of a discofied tune piled high with spaced out instrumentation. "Police 9000" and "Fan Fiction Writer" offer upbeat pop with those same swirling instrumentations that Who's A Fuzzy Buddy has by the handful.

Who's A Fuzzy Buddy wraps up with "Nobody Loves You," another broad composition that combines looming, raspy vocals with bizarre sound samples, funky bass and offbeat music into something that constantly hovers on the edge of dissolution into raw chaos, yet maintains just enough cohesion to prevent the song from becoming a total loss of noise.

Taking spacy elements from bands like Animal Collective, the glamtastic vibe of the likes of Foxy Shazam, combining it with bits and bites of sounds drawn from indie-rock darlings like OK Go and Eels and injecting it with their own frantic punkish energy, creative cohesion and sheer destructively constructive weird noise, Who's A Fuzzy Buddy is inspired and fun. It's weird enough to be intelligent, but structured and hookish enough to prevent you from being one of those folks who pretend to like a band just because its cool to like them, even though they may be unlistenable. The Bastards of Fate are challenging and exciting, but enjoyable as well. You don't have to concentrate to listen to them, but concentrating on them doesn't make their songs fall apart either.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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