Crystal Fairy - Crystal Fairy album review

Strange bedfellows do expectedly strange things

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Crystal Fairy is a side-project of former tourmates that creates the likeliest of unlikely sounds. Brought together under this banner are Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover – core members of the Melvins who should not be surprising anyone at this stage – the equally unpredictable Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, guitarist from The Mars Volta/At The Drive-In, and Le Butcherettes vocalist Teri Gender Bender (née Teresa Suárez), whose penchant for general shape-shifting is hinted at via her stage name.

Gather together as motley a crew of sonic alchemists as this and the result is as rocking and off the rails as you might imagine. For every impenetrable moment of meandering creepiness like Necklace Of Divorce and Under Trouble there are references to everyone’s day jobs that keep things from becoming too alien. Vampire X-Mass churns with some fuzzy, upbeat sludge à la Melvins’ Revolve, Chiseler uses thrashy punk to drive arena-sized hooks into the heart of progressive garage groove and the title track marries quirky math fuzz to hooks distilled from 60s pop like The Monkees and The Beach Boys. Ms Gender Bender is especially impressive, swinging throaty torch crooning, metallic grunting and coquettish whispers from her vocal cords, effectively bringing together the often divergent riff combinations.