Rome trio Fvzz Popvli indulge in the somewhat metallic trend of using the letter v as a u, but given their Latin heritage, it’s relatively acceptable. Their music is an enjoyable romp through heavy, hostile Psychedelic haze, and second album Magna Fvzz (Heavy Psych Sounds) offers up black comedy, snarling attitudes and sinister twists in equal measure.
Opener ‘Let It Die…’ sees a blistering riff and rumbling drums undercut by a distant, atonal shout from vocalist Francesco Pucci which tickles and terrifies in equal measure. Rumbling bass and some wonderfully emotive leadwork reminiscent of Robbie Krieger light up the path to the coda of this groove machine, and decorate the start of the ensuing, irresistible ‘Napoleon’. That dark holler is extremely effective, chilling and offsetting the heady warmth of the instrumentation.
The tracks here are given a deliciously retro feel by a primitive, claustrophobic production which still manages to give a distant resonance to Pucci’s vocal. ‘The Deal’ is an Occult Blues rattle infused with a sneering Punk sensibility, while ‘Get Me’ begins in slower, minimalist fashion and carries the glorious feel of underproduced Indie recordings of the eighties. As the track builds, riff and lead guitar drill through the brain like an army of wasps.
‘Rvmpletum’ is dictated by Datio Palatio’s boneshaking bassline and a mysterious drumbeat, the filthy crawl howled over in the wounded, rebellious manner of PiL-era John Lydon. ‘Cherry Bowl’ oscillates through the cosmos on a real greaser of a low rider: the sound dirty, the “Wake up” refrain menacingly spat forth.
The closing title track is something of an epic, the early movements carrying something of a Joy Division feel thanks largely to Palatio’s fluid bass and only lifted by some manic wah-wah effects. As electronic loops and weight come to the fore the looming, spectral sound counteracts the sporadic bluster, creating a swelling ebb and flow which finally explodes into a monolithic show of power.
Magna Fvzz lacks a little of the gravitas usually required to make such albums true contenders but there’s something refreshing about it; a desire to express different influences and meld them into a startling, gripping whole. In doing so Fvzz Popvli have created an entertaining, absorbing set which deserves more than the odd revisit.