Violent riffs and elastic tunes: veteran artists find new twists and turns on their new venture and invite Pat Travers to traverse a different expanse.
Titling a track on their first album “Funky Heavy & Tight” and infusing their name with “f’s” and “u’s” may be a bit on the nose, but Randy Pratt has always concealed savory subtleties under animalistic sonic assault and now, crawling from under the shadow of THE LIZARDS to creep up on the unsuspecting listener, the American bassist teams up with singer Ed Terry and engineer-arranger JZ Barrell to form another exciting enterprise. This “inner circle” – as he puts it – is bent on having various guitarists and drummers on each record, such an approach allowing the veterans to achive the state they define in “Freedom”: a deep, groovy cut that’s jiving in the most sexy way, while demonstrating the players’ unbridled reserve. Yes, paradox is the name of the game here.
But there’s also a teasing “Tonight” to ease one’s way into the album with an AOR-ish air created by Randy’s synthesizer-like pedals and Ed’s multilayered vocals, whereas Pat Travers lays down a series of meaty licks and T.C. Tolliver’s beat drives the number to delicious delirium. If things get serious in “Demons” and “Pressure” whose finely orchestrated, fusionesque heaviness is still playful, and embroidered with Jesse Berlin’s shredding, “On The Road” will stick to sweaty hard rock tropes, making it hard to breathe in this space until the epic vistas of “Mist” open endless emotional possibilities – from romantic reverie to kitchen-sink grind – and let Travers serve up his best solo in many years. Yet, despite the riot going on on the catchy “Frantic” – which can give RHCP a run for their money – sparse vibes behind “Hard Times” soothe the overall fever RUFFYUNZ love so much and shed additional light on their superfreak streak.
It’s exactly what’s expected of these musos – and more, with many a suprising detail hidden in the mix. Repeated spins are required, then, to bide the short time before the next album arrives.