Words by Russell Carstens
Comprising members of the Melvins (Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover), At The Drive-In (Omar Rodriguez-Lopez) and Le Butcherettes (Teri Gender Bender), Crystal Fairy could be the in-house band for a mutant burlesque exhibition. Their self-titled debut plays like a musical freak pageant, showcased by the paranoid “Under Trouble” and spooky “Necklace of Divorce.”
Ms. Bender’s kitschy vocal approach and Spanish singing on “Secret Agent Rat” quench the small thirst for diversity built up by the album’s halfway point. As to be expected, nobody riffs like Osbourne, and Crover is a one-man army, especially on “Moth Tongue,” where an assembly line of evil gnomes plays heady stoner metal in a dreary Birmingham factory. Classic Melvins humor rears its playfully ugly head on “Posesion,” providing comic relief.
Crystal Fairy is the sound of fictional, frantic freak punks on too many speedy drugs. More of Rodriguez-Lopez’s influence could have helped the collaboration live up to its potential a bit more, but fans of the Melvins’ more accessible mid-90s work (think Stoner Witch) will enjoy the album thoroughly.
© February 24th, 2017
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