Calming minimalism from long-dormant Detroit experimentalists.
Wyndham Wallace 2012-05-16
A quick look at the list of guests on Füxa’s first album in a decade offers plenty of clues as to the content therein: both Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham – of Luna and, later, Dean & Britta – donate vocals, as does Seefeel’s Sarah Peacock, while members of Spiritualized, Spacemen 3 and Spectrum all contribute. We’re in dreamy, droning territory here, make no mistake, but since escapism is all the rage these days that’s a cause for celebration.
Detroit’s Füxa were once a duo, their last album the product of founder Randall Nieman alone, but this time he’s joined by Tom Meade, and the results are, in a word, blissful. The centrepiece is a 10-minute version of Suicide’s Cheree, which – given their aesthetic – isn’t the most imaginative notion, but as a homage to Nieman’s heroes (and indeed past collaborators) it works well, a beatific mood replacing the original’s more up-tempo neurosis.
More successfully imaginative is their haunting cover – again, inevitably, slowed down – of Daniel Johnston’s Some Things Last a Long Time, his frail voice substituted by Phillips’ purer, emotive and yet oddly detached tones, the piano swapped for more resonant, warmer analogue keyboards.
Though a cover of Fun Boy Three’s Our Lips Are Sealed is similarly effective, there are original songs here too, even if they owe similarly obvious debts to others: in particular, Marty Suicide gives the game away with its name, coming on like something off Spacemen 3’s Playing With Fire, one of the first albums to celebrate pointedly the New York duo of Alan Vega and Marty Rev.
SWF Twenty-O-Two pursues a more ambient path, however, until guitars slowly transform it into what sounds like a Brian Eno and Robert Fripp collaboration. The title-track heads in the opposite direction – as much as Füxa can – with trumpets and a solitary keyboard note floating over a skittering beat in the manner of Bowery Electric’s now forgotten 1996 gem, Beat.
It’s mellifluous stuff, even if hardly groundbreaking, but the title is misleading: this might perhaps be better thought of as The Analogue Sound of Autumn.