Get your Hedfuzy….
Is there that element? Definitely, but you won’t find it on the album’s first cut and video “Sing.” A meaty guitar-driven hook wrapped around 90’s alt-pop vocals. (think Gin Blossoms), the song took me back to the time where rock radio had master storytellers and musicians writing accessible music for the masses.
The prog element takes off on the next song “Snakes.” Now when I think of prog music I think of early Genesis to Dream Theater whose music has a “you get it or you don’t” element. A general joy in alienating the mainstream listener by musical intimidation. Musically speaking Hedfuzy can go into that territory but never do. Instead leaning towards another one of their influences, Mr. Big, to make sure the great elements are served by badass playing.
Pat Byrne, along with producing and mixing the album, plays guitar, bass, keyboards and provides the vocals. He proves to be more than capable of pulling off amazing licks and compositions as well as relatable lyrics. Along with assistance from drummer Ben Wanders, keyboardist Graham Conway and guitarists Graham Keane, Mike Moriarty and Cameron Allen the playing is worthy of any feature article in most musicians magazines. The ones where instrument string gauge is argued as significantly and passionately as politics.
To get a full feel of the range and complexity of Hedfuzy one only needs to listen to “The Death.” The track starts out fitting in with any classic rock tune from Journey’s catalog to progressing into an impressive dark instrumental lead out showcasing some epic chops back to a classic rock sing-along coda. While many bands would struggle to make stylistic changes not sound forcefully imposed on the listener it seems to come with easy to Hedfuzy.
The slower burning tracks “Name” and “Mine” are a rarity as well. While a lot of bands would barrel into power ballad territory Hedfuzy keeps the ride at an even pace while keeping the emotional impact building. Even the final instrumental track named after the band keeps a great sense of melody without going into full on wanking mode. None of the tracks on the album fall into the clichés that they could have in any genera of music, yet still fit the mode of what good rock is supposed to sound like.
So don’t let the prog rock title fool you. Hedfuzy’s album is one a musician or prog fan can pop in the car and enjoy the intricacies of great musicianship and composing while those whose tastes go for the more simplistic will appreciate the hooks and sing-along choruses. And a joy for those of us like me who enjoy both.