Album Reviews

Ladyfuzz – Kerfuffle

(Transgressive) UK release date: 3 April 2006

Ladyfuzz - Kerfuffle They’re signed to the ultra-hip Transgressive Records, they’re mates with Bloc Party (both Kele Okereke and Tom Vek were early members of the band), and have just played the prestigious SxSW Festival in Texas. So are the delightfully named Ladyfuzz poised to take the title of ‘your new favourite band’?

Well, that rather depends on whether you’re prepared to expect the unexpected. They may be a three-piece female fronted rock band, but they’re nothing like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They’ve got a song sung totally in German. Basically, they specialise in angular, off-kilter, experimental pop tunes dominated by the personality of lead singer Liz Neumayr.

As with most things a bit quirky, Ladyfuzz’s debut is a bit hit and miss, but when they’re good they’re bang on target. Previous singles Oh Marie and Bouncy Ball give a pretty good indication of what they’re all about – the former starts off like a slowed down version of The Futureheads‘ version of Hounds Of Love, before turning into a slinky, sexy, jittery anthem. It’s Neumayr’s voice that grabs the attention, alternatively purring and yelping the lyrics.

Bouncy Ball is also terrific, using a stop-start introduction which brings back memories of Elastica. The singles aren’t the only highlight though, as opening track Hold On and especially the muscular Monster prove – the closest contemporary comparison is probably Sheffield’s highly regarded The Long Blondes, who are going to be kicking themselves that their album isn’t out sooner once they hear this.

Sometimes it all goes a bit too quirky for its own good. There’s A Woman In Studio One is a bit self-indulgent, throwing a saxophone into the mix for no good reason, while The Man With The Monochrome View has a chorus that’s so strident it just becomes irritating after a couple of minutes. Yet when the minimal Staple Gun comes in, you can forgive them any manner of indiscretions – the multi-layered backing vocals give the song a real sense of drama and poignancy that makes it the standout track here.

The second half of the album hints at signs of musical progression which bodes well for the future. The spiky Immer Diese Liebe has a gloriously soaring chorus while the title track , with its choir of backing vocals, reminds one of Rilo Kiley‘s majestic With Arms Outstretched – albeit with a number of clanking instruments and an endearingly wonky guitar solo thrown in.

The rather annoying Palavar (here as a hidden bonus track) ends the album on a slightly jarring note, but overall there are more high points than low moments on Kerfuffle. Probably not your brand new favourite band right at the moment, but certainly worth keeping an eye on.

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