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The Great Fuzz: Fvzz Popvli’s Psych-Rocky “Magna Fvzz”

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Perfectly designed to top Google searches and exasperate spellcheck, the Italian trio known as Fvzz Popvli return with their second full-length in just over a year. Magna Fvzz — Latin for “the great fuzz” — does indeed burst at the seams with fuzziness, starting right at the opening notes of leadoff track “And Let It Die…” and never dialing it back. Nor should they: Fvzz Popvli have established exactly what they are, and playing to one’s strengths gives any potential album a real backbone. Check out a full stream of the album prior to its Friday release date below.

The two main reference points in much of Magna Fvzz’s are Black Sabbath and the Stooges, and while the band surely stands on the shoulders of those giants, it’s a bit reductive. Fvzz Popvli aren’t another nondescript stoner rock retread; “Napoleon” and “The Deal” exist in a Venn diagram of Lecherous Gaze and the Black Angels, pulling inspiration from more disparate corners of the rock universe, while still retaining the lo-fi simplicity and memorable hooks of the godfathers. The production is noticeably dry and hollow, which adds to the album’s dusty garage atmosphere, even evoking the sunburnt desert vibe that most “desert rock” bands seem to forget.

“Get Me” works incredibly well as both a centerpiece for the album and a palate cleanser for the last three tracks. It’s more languid than the preceding songs and recalls the poppier, Jay Reatard/Ty Segall end of the psych-garage spectrum. “Rvmpeltvm” follows, doubling down on the phasers and — yes — fuzz. Singer/guitarist Francesco “Pootchie” Pucci has that Iggy Pop, dirty/clean-vocal approach to singing that comes across more as melodic howling, which blends seamlessly into the context of what Magna Fvzz is. The guitars get heavier and the mood a bit more sinister going into “Cherry Bowl,” a song that wouldn’t be out of place in Uncle Acid’s Manson-family-summer-of-love oeuvre.

The title track closer is a 12+ minute trip into the unknown with the band going full Hawkwind, a psychedelic jam exploring how far they can go while keeping a rudimentary sense of song structure in place. Synthesizers (courtesy of Bazu from fellow Italian acid rock outfit Giobia) compliment the proceedings rather than overpower them, and Magna Fvzz clocks in under the 40-minute mark — a surprisingly lean effort for a psych rock album, but that just means Fvzz Popvli know how to make the most of every second.

Magna Fvzz releases Friday via Heavy Psych Sounds.

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