Straight-talking and groovy stuff from this instrumental trio from Lyon. Well well, another quality French band I was ignorant about (see my recent ÂGE ⱡ TOTAL interview). This album comes, on the face of it, as a follow-up to 2016s A – B and is certainly cut from the same cloth, in its live-recorded good-times rocking. As a name I can’t help but feel that ‘Fuzzcrafter’ sells them short – the songs are never far from a good bouncing groove, and lean back into fuzz/stoner rock verrrry comfortably, but the songs on C – D are free from the lack of ambition that, to me, their name implies.
Maybe the emphasis is on craft, as it’s clear that the trio have plenty. Their bio namechecks some definitely prog groups and this is a side of their song-writing that gets full expression here. I’m at times put in mind of Stinking Lizaveta when Vincent Quilichini’s guitar is wailing atop a jazzy groove (also, check out the chug of A3 from the earlier album), or Euro groups like Rotor who have also pulled simpler rock ideas into new territory. Fuzzcrafter write about focusing on ‘authenticity and unaltered spontaneity’ in their music, which is perhaps also where my ear draws those links.
C – D is similar in format to the debut, split as it is into two ‘sides’ (of course many formats don’t have a side) with numbered tracks and no song titles as such. However where A – B had eight roughly evenly timed songs, this record is two sets of three, each ‘side’ starting with a four to five minute rocker, followed by a longer jam that wanders further into progressive structures, and a short acoustic-ish coda in a more folky vein.
I’m at times put in mind of Stinking Lizaveta when Vincent Quilichini’s guitar is wailing atop a jazzy groove…
The album, as a whole, can be seen as two progressions through a musical idea. The longer pieces are very well-crafted, with calmer movements springing into life with, or without, bridging sections into crunch and bounce and some highly funky stuff. Some of the wandering is a bit much for a square like me, but this is not po-faced pretentiousness, as noted already Fuzzcrafter don’t lose the sense of fun along the way. Where I find myself momentarily dropping out of the song, there’s soon another infectious idea to tickle the synapses.
This album comes across as more of a ‘relaxed summer evening’ sort of listen, than fitting my current mood in an endless winter of house-arrest… but then maybe forty-odd minutes of skilfully enjoyable and playful rock music is exactly what I need.
Scribed by: Harry Holmes