So far, powerpop quartet Fuzzbubble had enough cracks at its 15 minutes of fame to merit slipping into total obscurity. Having signed for rapper Puffy Combs’ Bad Boy Records in 1997 and performing on Mr Combs’ “It’s All about the Benjamins” hit, things looked pretty rosy for Mark DiCarlo, Jim Bacchi, Jason Camiolo and Brett Rothfeld. Ala, it was not to be as the group and Bad Boy parted ways in 2000 as the latter, in the opinion of Fuzzbubble, failed to deliver on its end of the bargain. In the meantime, Fuzzbubble had managed to land a plum spot for Out There on the Godzilla soundtrack album and even one for Ordinary in the Felicity TV show.
Even as Fuzzbubble scour the nation for a willing label to do their talents justice, this precocious showcase of powerpop authority will more than satisfy fans of heads-down, toe-tapping, free-wheeling guitar pop-rock.
Believe it! Just how many modern rock outfits would be able to pull off the reviled post-grunge aesthetic displayed on “Bliss”. With a wild guitar solo contributed by the late Eddie (Redd Kross) Kurdziel, the band kicks out the jams with panache and bombast. This kind of catchy tunes matched with frenetic, overdriven guitars (fuzzy bubblegum geddit?!) more or less defines the Fuzzbubble approach to the modern rock sound.
Evoking Nirvana, the Grays, Splitsville, Cheap Trick and Redd Kross, Fuzzbubble take no prisoners as tracks like “Don’t Let It Get You Down”, “Zero Superstar”, “Big Time Nowhere” and “Wonderwoman” let rip from the speakers to hit right between the eyes.
Ironically (or not), the album’s finer moments come against the grain. “Ordinary” is the centerpiece, a contemporary folk ditty (resplendent with cello) about self-esteem. “You may be right / I may just be ordinary / I hope you’re wrong / So I’ll stretch and I scream but I won’t be ordinary,” goes the plaintive chorus—a thoughtful moment in the maelstrom. The Beatles are our next point of reference. “On When It Stops Raining”, featuring guest Susanna (The Bangles) Hoffs and Roger (Jellyfish) Manning), the jazzy chord changes and slight psychedelic feel make for a tasty delight and on “Real World”, the Fuzzbubble boys manage the unthinkable—an Oasis anthem done right (right down to gorgeous Harrisonesque slide guitar and “Hey Jude”-type fade out)! No mean feat.
The great white hope of powerpop? Who knows, Fuzzbubble certainly have the aptitude and the chops for the task.