Published Oct 21, 2015Fuzz —being Ty Segall and his fellow longhaired destroyers — once again set out to melt your mind and sear your brain with their riff-heavy cacophony on II, the sequel to their 2013 self-titled release. Twice as long and twice as strong, II evokes Segall's knockout Slaughterhouse (the album artwork is once again done by the weirdly brilliant Tatiana Kartomten), as it hits harder than its precursor, in the best way. It's heavy, but never exhausting or monotonous.
"Let It Live" starts off sounding like Sabbath's "N.I.B" (beginning with that sneaking bass riff), before Segall's calm vocals come in; then comes the guitar noodling, before it dissolves into controlled chaos, as strings and wild percussion beget a slowed down main riff. Truthfully, if you're a keener for Black Sabbath's first record, you'll find II hard to resist — "Pipe" is Sabbath to a T (the vocals are unabashedly Ozzy-like), yet somehow remains fresh — but it's still much more than an homage to the heavy '70s sound. Songs like "Red Flag" are pure punk, while the bright "New Flesh" and slow-starter "Silent Sits The Dust Bowl," with a gorgeous string arrangement before it explodes around the halfway mark into perfectly paced fuzz fest, provide a wider sound.
Segall provides plenty of fun vocal runs on II, particularly on the eerie and unsettling chorus of "Pollinate," and on "Say Hello," which is an absolute treat thanks to Segall's tribal drumming building up into the catchiest melody that II has to offer. He's at his best when manic, explosive and set loose, and playing with Fuzz really allows for it, particularly on this release. Segall is prolific in his own right — putting out records under his own name, under the Ty Segall Band moniker, under Fuzz — but here he sits back (literally, at the drum kit) and lets guitarist Charlie Moothart take it home. It's a neat dynamic that the two have, as Moothart conjures up the riffs, Segall fills in the blanks lyrically, and bassist Chad Ubovich fattens it up. When these three well-rounded and multi-band players put their heads together, they churn out some weird and wondrously wild jams.
II is like a punch to the gut, but as satisfying as being knocked about in a rowdy concert crowd. Is there plenty of noodling? Absolutely. But, surprisingly, it's not overdone — it's explorative, sure, but it's focused. Built on a fuzzy foundation, II is as classic as a psychedelic-stoner-rock record can be, building on well-loved tropes but never hesitant to colour outside the lines. (In The Red)