2017 is looking to be the year of super group debuts starting with Gone is Gone releasing their first album this month. Next in line is Crystal Fairy an intriguing new band with King Buzzo and Dale Crover from The Melvins, Tery Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes and Omar Rodriguez Lopez of the acclaimed bands The Mars Volta and At the Drive In. Bender and Lopez are already long time collaborators in bands such as Bosnian Rainbows and have toured tirelessly together. Lopez has even played bass guitar on Le Butcherettes live shows and in Crystal Fairy once again picks up the bass taking a break from being a lead guitarist.
Le Butcherettes supported The Melvins on tour last year and the chemistry between the two bands was a success leading them to the conclusion that they needed to start writing music together. The album was released on Mike Patton’s label Ipecac Recordings and the sessions took place in Los Angeles and El Paso, Texas.
The result is a poised self-titled debut and at fist listen it proves to be a heavy, arm wrestling first appearance.The opening song “Chiseler” is a rude awakening for anyone. “Drugs on the Bus” starts with a cynical bass line from Lopez and builds up to a sludgy riff referencing the early 90’s grunge/metal bands. Necklace of Divorce has a southern rock sway with an indie/punk influence creeping in. On “Moth Tongue”Gender Bender gives her vocals all she has in an exaggerated effort to access the highest reaches on her range that reminds me of Rush’s Geddy Lee back in their own 1974 debut album.
The title track “Crystal Fairy”has the catchiest riff on the album and Gender Bender playfully pretends to call out a character by the name Crystal asking her if she wants a cigarette with a childish giggle. “Secret Agent Rat” has a Dimebag like riff and the song is delivered entirely in Spanish as Gender Bender channels her Mexican heritage. “Under Trouble”is a Mars Volta like composition that contrasts with rough guitar edges typical of The Melvins. “Bent Teeth” is just a straight up metal jam bringing all the members of the band to really punch above their weight.“Posesion” has a comical guitar melody and is probably the weakest song on the album. Sweat Self takes the listener back to the late 60’s with its hazy psychedelic rock and its twisted lyrics from Gender Bender as she sings “ You’re living a lie with your sweat self”. The last song on the album “Vampire X-Mas” ends again as the album started with a rude awakening but the riff reminds me of early Mastodon; It is metal madness with a punk attitude.
In conclusion, this debut is worthy of your time and if you’re already a fan of The Melvins, Le Butcherettes and The Mars Volta you won’t be disappointed by Crystal Fairy’s album. It really isn’t anything that new from all the members of the band but they seem to harmonize well and each of them brings something to the table adding their own unique ingredients. The album isn’t flawless as it has a couple of songs that are not very memorable but they are well-crafted short, aggressive and tasty.