We've Got A Fuzzbox ... - Bostin' Steve Austin (Splendiferous Edition)

Armed with not much more than a drum kit, a guitar and occasional saxophone or violin, Birmingham's We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It!! were a day-glo explosion of colour on a sometimes oh-so-serious mid-80s indie scene. Favouring a Slits-like enthusiasm over instrumental mastery, they managed to briefly charm John Peel and the weekly music press before jumping ship to a short-lived major label career that spawned a couple of fun hit singles in 'International Rescue' and 'Pink Sunshine'.

Prior to the mainstream exposure, this 1986 debut album (amazingly on CD for the first time) was recorded while three of the four were still teenagers and is a pleasing reminder of a time when indie was as much a state of mind as it was a haircut. While the music was simplistic - and generally centred around a fuzz punk format - Fuzzbox didn't shy away from post-punk/pre-Riot Grrrl issues like sexual politics ('XX Sex', 'You Got Me') or the tedium of the 9-5 ('Rules & Regulations'). These eleven tracks still sound surprisingly fresh, primarily because despite the basic nature of the material, they never forgot to include a decent melody. A second disc rounds-up various b-sides and rarities, including their collaboration with Vindaloo labelmates The Nightingales and Ted Chippington* on a cover of the latter's 'Rockin' With Rita'. In the sleeve notes, drummer Tina O'Neill is pleasingly candid about the worth of some of these numbers but this is a fine package sure to rekindle memories of snakebite-fulled nights down the local rock club. Splendid!

* If you were the person who stole my jumper and Ted Chippington badge in 1987 I still hate you.



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