Fuzzbox: Big Bang!

fuzzbox_bigbang

Format: LP

Label: WEA

Country: Germany

Year: 1989

Price Paid: $4.99

Purchased at: Bleecker Street Records, NYC

 

They’re off the beaten track

Preparing for attack

Blinding flashes, don’t look back…

The clock is ticking down

Save them, save them, ‘fore they drown

Ne’er in the history of rock… nay the history of music… nay the history of mankind itself have there been many upheavals to rival the transformation of Fuzzbox Mark 1 to Fuzzbox Mark 2.

‘We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Gonna Use It!’ in their original form were a fun little mid-80s collective of four girls mashing about on instruments in a spirit of anarchic bliss. Somehow it worked, and worked well. But the times they were a changin’, and if the band hoped to survive in the fast-emerging landscape of late 80’s Britpop they would need to evolve. And quickly.

So they left behind the small, cozy womb of Vindaloo Records and spread their wings to greet a new dawn. The result? A completely overhauled band consisting of a sexy quintet of synth-heavy dance-pop tarts, lead sing Vix (Vickie Perks) emerging as the group’s focal point. ‘Cause she was the sexist and all. Against all odds it worked, and worked well.

It’s debatable at this point what percentage of the music is actually Fuzzbox playing, so layered under drum machines and swooping backing vocals had it all become, as homogenized as Stock Aitken Waterman era Banarama. Despite what fuss this inevitably caused to their old school fans at the time (probably losing 98% of them in the turnabout), in retrospect- from a chart-based view at least- they became more successful than ever.

‘Big Bang’ reached number 5 on the UK charts and spawned four charting singles including ‘International Rescue’ (#11, their highest-charting single), ‘Pink Sunshine’ (#14, but #16 in the US- their only single to chart there), ‘Self!’ (#24), and ‘Walking on Thin Ice’ (#76.)

The ‘Big Bang!’ sleeve art is in keeping with the radical style shift. Gone is the acidic riot of Day-glo colors, replaced with a smooth electric palette of purples and salmon. The front cover photography is notable as it was done by Bob Carlos Clarke, a late British photographer well known for his fetish work.

By 1990 they began working on their third full-length LP, but only one single ‘Your Loss, My Gain’ was released, the group splitting shortly thereafter.

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