A Shot In The Fuzz
Long songs are a hallmark of the stoner rock genre. One’s mind doesn’t necessarily move at top speed while intoxicated. Simple, repetitive songs are a key factor in holding the audience’s attention. Also, you don’t want to freak them out. Taking that concept to its logical conclusion is New Jersey supergroup The Atomic Bitchwax, with their album-length song The Local Fuzz.
The Local Fuzz consists of one track, appropriately eponymous, that clocks in at 42 minutes and 18 seconds of instrumental hard rock. The Atomic Bitchwax itself is comprised of veterans of the stoner rock scene, namely bassist Chris Kosnik (of Godspeed), guitarist Finn Ryan (of Core), and drummer Bob Pantella (of Monster Magnet), and it shows. The music is tight, groovy, heavy, and everything else you could want from a rock record. The band displays influences ranging from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin to Parliament/Funkadelic and the Grateful Dead, and they manage to combine their different tastes in music in interesting ways. Honestly, it’s a fun record to listen to.
On the other side of the coin, however, it’s ONE SONG that is 42 minutes long. It’s a little tough to make it through the record the first time. Without those track breaks, it doesn’t feel like one is making progress until the record is finally over. Without lyrics or a storyline, there’s not much to grab onto, making it hard to remember specific points in the opus, and putting The Local Fuzz squarely into jam band territory. The concept of “one really, really long stoner rock song” is very reminiscent of Sleep’s 2003 epic, Dopesmoker, a record which was tied together by an engaging narrative.
The Local Fuzz is definitely a driving record, or a party record. Like the music of Bach, it doesn’t intrude upon your other activities, allowing you to continue studying, or chatting up that cute girl. Fans of Phish, the Dead, or jam bands in general will also want to check this out. And, of course, fans of The Atomic Bitchwax will want to grab this. The rest of us can let this one go by.