Crystal Fairy by Crystal FairyRelease date: February 24, 2017
Label: Ipecac Recordings
Crystal Fairy is a side project initially mooted after Teri Gender Bender’s Le Butcherettes supported The Melvins on two North American tours. It set-in motion the idea of a jam, which consequently led to a flourishing writing and recording process all wrapped up in eight days. For a fuller detailed account on how Crystal Fairy took shape and how the song-writing process was constructed then read Echoes Tim Porter’s informative interview with Buzz Ozbourne.
Consisting of current punk spirited visionary Teri, one of grunge’s distinctive guitarists in Buzz, plus fellow Melvins Dale Crover, and At the Drive In’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez, it is with good reason the band and debut album has incited excitement in certain quarters. Aside from this reviewer, others thrilled at the prospect includes Blondie’s drummer Clem Burke who recently stated in the Guardian that this super group of ‘iconoclasts’ is one of his most anticipated albums for 2017.
It is interesting Teri is the sole member on the album cover. The youngest and probably least known member has been allowed the star focus. And while all the members play their part with commendable spirit towards the overall sound, as Buzz’s high praise (see aforementioned- interview) of Teri’s creative energetic delivery implies, she bursts out in every crevice throughout the album. As on the catchy up-tempo and snappy break up themed ‘Necklace Of Divorce’, she spits, snarls, and howls ”It’s always me who does all the running, baby.” While on ‘Drugs On The Bus’, her busy vocal delivery adds a significant sugar juxtaposition to the thick syrupy black coffee riffs and tempo.
Musically, it has Buzz Ozbourne’s trademark grungy, dirty guitar sound, but he sounds re-charged, effortlessly crafting one sturdy riff after another. Assembled together each member of the band create a vibrant energy, a chemistry which formed immediately and has instantly created their own idiosyncratic nuanced sound. In turn they have successfully captured the freshness, and their ripeness sounds fit to burst on the record. Check out the self-titled band name and album title Crystal Fairy, its rhythm bounces, twists, while Teri’s contrasting vocals sparkle, and adds a brightness to the grungy riffarama Buzz conjures. ‘Bent Teeth’ ups the spikey rhythm, and scatters forth in glorious jagged fashion, with memorable ear catching squealing guitar, and Teri’s vocals passionately adds to the intensity.
Another highlight is ‘Secret Agent Rat’, a robust heavier riff set against Teri’s urgently frenetic squealing mix of Danielle Dax and Kate Bush tones whilst delivering what is now becoming one of her trademarks, singing in Spanish. Each track rattles by barely coming up for breath until ‘Sweet Self’, musically softer in approach aided by otherworldly keyboard effects, allows a brief break in its relentlessness.
It is an album which deserves attention and lead to a wider profile for Teri, and to fulfil Henry Rollins recent high praise regarding her talent. Anyone who has experienced Teri’s fully charged live performances will know what Mr Rollins is talking about. Her force of nature continues supplemented by another excellent band. And hopefully tours and further albums beckon because Crystal Fairy is a side project worth, as this excellent record proves, to keep the flame alight.