Peachfuzz “Raise High Your Bright Halo of Stars”
Review by Rich Cocksedge
Peachfuzz have at times sounded a little bit like a number of bands that have had rock and roll at their core including the likes of Stereophonics, Foo Fighters and Soul Asylum. However, the overriding comparison in the time I’ve been listening to the band would be to the latter day Social Distortion, both from the guitar sound that this Welsh band cranks out as well as the vocals of Adam Jones. The warm lilt of Jones’ voice has been said by some (including me) to be similar to that of the Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones, but it’s fleeting enough to not get fixated on. If I were to provide a more overall comparison vocally it would have to be to one of my favourite singers, Baz Oldfield of The Abs, another Welsh band, but this time one from the 1980s and very early 1990s – the similarity is scarily unerring at times.
The songs themselves are all mini-anthems, full of big chords and choruses and album opener “Something’s Wrong” epitomises this approach perfectly. It gives Raise High Your Bright Halo of Stars the grand statement of intent that any good album needs, grabbing the listener by the shoulders and making them focus intently on the musical journey they end up traversing. Fortunately, everything that is subsequently encountered on the album matches the lead track in terms of quality, maintaining a sense of enjoyment with guitars leading the way and catchy tunes being in abundance from start to finish.
One final similarity I noticed occurred when listening to “Highest Window” which immediately got me thinking that there was a touch of Husker Du coming through in the song. With a few more plays I also realised that Jones was singing “saddle up there’s a new day rising” – coincidence?!
This is guitar music played with hearts worn on sleeves, boots kicking down doors and a clear desire to just rock, and you know what? It does just that. There’s nothing complicated going on with Peachfuzz. They’ll find a tune and deliver it with as much verve and vigour as they can muster, leading the listener into total submission.
Although Raise High Your Bright Halo of Stars has a more polished sound than its predecessor, We Are Solid State, which had more immediately in common with Social Distortion in terms of a gritty quality, it’s a very strong follow up and one to be embraced by anyone who wants to wield an air guitar and pretend they’re singing in front of a packed house of sweaty rock’n’roll souls. Top notch stuff indeed.