Tuesday, April 23, 2019
The Short Fuses - Dawn of the Deaf
I will admit that I'm always suspicious when any reviewer proclaims a longstanding band's latest album its "best yet". It's usually a load of crap. And given my involvement in writing some of the press info for Dawn of the Deaf, you would be doubly advised to approach this review skeptically (I would probably suggest that for all of my reviews!). But as a fan, I 100% believe this is The Short Fuses' best album. And it's not even close. The irony is that I'm a notoriously "pop" guy, and this is by far the least pop thing the band has ever done. There were always hints of pop lodged in there with the rock and soul on previous records. Dawn of the Deaf, on the other hand, is a fully focused hard-rocking record made by three individuals who sound like they're on a mission to pummel anything in their path. To recap the origins of this record, The Short Fuses had not recorded or played together since 2003. In the intervening years, Miss Georgia Peach and Travis Ramin had played in 1,000 bands combined (I exaggerate; it was only 999). Justin Staggs was, among other things, painting, making movies, and directing music videos. At some point not too long ago, Justin was writing some new songs that seemed perfect for The Short Fuses. He realized he missed playing with his good friends Georgia and Travis. The feeling was mutual. And just like that, a band was reborn. Travis, who'd been working on a large number of power pop projects, was really itching to rip some guitar. And riding a surge of 2016 election rage, The Short Fuses were energized to make their most powerful sonic statement yet. The band called in the big guns. Daniel Rey (Ramones, Nashville Pussy, Misfits) was enlisted to produce Dawn of the Deaf. Adrian Popovich from Tricky Woo was brought in to mix the record. The legendary Geza X was tapped for mastering duties. All stops were pulled out to ensure that this album would melt faces. Did it work? Well, I would definitely recommend donning protective headgear before clicking play.
I am a fan of the entire Short Fuses' catalog. But to me, Dawn of the Deaf sounds like the album this band has been trying to make for 20 years. Sometimes there's no substitute for that veteran know-how. And the band's excitement over making this record is palpable. It doesn't hurt that Georgia sounds amazing. Her voice is just so full of power and soul and a conviction that is undeniable. In that respect, she's perfectly in sync with the entire band. The Short Fuses have unleashed a resistance rock record for 2019, and they could not sound any more fired-up and raring to fight! You can hear the group channeling its inner Motörhead and MC5 more than ever. There's also a discernible Misfits/Danzig flavor to a lot of these songs which reflects the band members' East Coast upbringing. If you prefer your heavy rock with a sniff of the supernatural, the title track and "Galloping Ghost" ought to hit you just where you like it. Meanwhile, songs like "Baby Got Bat Wings" and "Rockford Getaway" demonstrate how to properly do scorching rock and roll with a soul influence. If you're not already pissed about the present state of things, "Furiosa" just might push you over the edge. A song titled "Rock Yo Self (Until You Wreck Yo Self)" promises something very epic...and proceeds to deliver exactly that!
I think most of us would have been perfectly happy with ANY new music from The Short Fuses. I would gladly have taken instrumental covers of Gaga hits or a concept album about the life and times of Ralph Malph. But lord almighty, has this trio ever crushed this reunion! Dawn of the Deaf is the ultimate "crank-it-up-loud and rock-the-fuck-out!" raging guitar record. The riffs are roaring, the solos are fire, and Miss Georgia reminds us that she is one of the true powerhouse singers in rock. And from a songwriting perspective, the band has never delivered a more compelling batch of tunes. If you've been waiting a while to have your ass kicked by a rock and roll record, HERE YOU GO!