13 songs. That’s a lot of songs. That’s how many there are on Feuerzeug’s latest album, the May release of “Dead Wahines & Tsunamis”. How many of those 13 songs would you think, coming from a presently little known 4 piece rock band from Switzerland, would be worth listening to more than one time through? For those songs that happen to pass the initial audible audit, how many do you think would be worthy of additional playtime because they were enjoyable enough, intriguing enough, to warrant it? How many would you expect to then be listened to over and over again so as to catch all the nuanced, clever riffs, rolls, and solos that are tightly packed throughout each individual contribution? How about the intelligent and in depth lyrics, do they engender infinite rewinds in an effort to understand what the singer’s lush and full bodied vocals are dispensing? How many of these baker’s dozen would you think are a cut above your ordinary run of the mill stoner/doom tunes, perhaps offering influences and additions from other musical styles and genres that embellish the great low fuzz instead of detract from it? What percentage of this sizeable amalgamation of stoner/psych formulations truly belong in the LP collection of “Dead Wahines & Tsunamis”, available on iTunes, Amazon, and online? The complete and immutable answer is 100%, every goddamned one of them. Each and every one of these thirteen offerings are songs within the pale, so to speak. They are songs that are instantly recognizable as a cut above, as top shelf. They are the type of songs that only get better, more appreciated with each listen. You find yourself discovering something new on subsequent listens, whether it be the first week after you’ve purchased it, 6 months down the road, or, I’ll warrant, 10 years hence, placing this particular album collection alongside the likes of such standards as . . . yes, I’m going to trot it out . . . Kyuss’ “Blues for the Red Sun”, Aerosmith’s first four, Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”, Black Sabbath’s “Master of Reality”, Egypt’s self-titled EP . . . pick your favorite all time albums, slide them to the right a notch, and place a copy of this most excellent edition beside that esteemed group.
Man, the pressure to produce 13 songs of substance had to be somewhat daunting, but these guys seem to take it in stride. It’s a little like Messi or Kobe needing to bring their A game each time out because they know the opposition has brought theirs, but it turns out not to be a problem because the combination of skill and talent, honed from years of finger blistering work and an imagination of clarity and insight. Somehow this collection of Swiss rockers are able to hone in on such high quality sound, over and over again, providing tunes that are bursting at the seams with fun, soul, and sheer listenable joy. Even if you go back an album, to their first LP, “Drive Fast & Crash”, you’ll experience the same phenomena, except with a miserly 12, not 13, beautifully rendered, fully crafted melodies that rock your face off!
At first listen a couple of things jump out at you: these . . . songs . . . ROCK . . . HARD . . and the vocals are nothing short of tremendous. For me, the vocals play a key role in the overall quality of the music. Vocals don’t have to be genetically superior, or of broadway musical quality, but when they are, it tends to place the music on an upper shelf. Who can discount the athletic, driving vocals of Kyuss’ John Garcia, Ozzy’s unique and incredible sound on those early albums, Keith Gibbs’ throaty, hefty, brutal vocals for Sasquatch, Dave Wyndorf’s beautifully adept timbre on Monster Magnet’s monster tunes? David van Neeg provides more than simple serviceable singing on this album, he belts them out with force and fury, finesse and panache, striking chords and notes in perfect execution and timbre, matching the quality of his output to that of the music upon which it rides. He never struggles, never strays from the essence of a song, always delivering exactly what fits, what matches, what’s required. Hell, the guy can flat out sing - high, low, fast, slow, clear, meaty, beefy, big, and / or bouncy.
Listed as the band members who are assigned the guitar are the heretofore mentioned David van Neeg and Esteban (Steve) Wolfensberger. Hah. These two do more than just play the guitar on these . . . did I mention there are 13 . . . songs. What they have laid down is magic, pure and simple. There is definitely a display of inestimable talent, deftness, and athleticism, on each song, not to mention perhaps tens of thousands of hours of practice, because regardless of talent level, skill comes only from rote execution, and the skill level on display with “Dead Wahines & Tsunamis” is as inestimable as the talent level. In essence, these 2 guitarists play music that provides instant gratification as well as continual and sustained pay off.
Lest we forget, Terry Pinhard, on bass, is not to be outdone by his counterparts. Skill, talent, imagination, all there, evident in the ferocious thumping and driving of his heavy strings, interspersed with imaginative rolls of funkalisciousness. Marc Cappaletti brings it all home with his assignment on drums. Some assignment; Mr. Cappaletti plays with relish and flare, with an adroit execution of imagination to match anything his frontmen can produce
released May 1, 2012
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