“Guitar Led Riffing Rock”
After a brief hiatus pondering omens, synchronicity (no, not the rubbish album by The Police) and portents, I was only too pleased to lift the gloom at my Zodiac Strasse hang out and pitch my tent on the wholesome Northern Exposure kampingplatz where the prospect of offering a few perspectives on the ever morphing and endlessly ingenious UK independent rock scene, that remains to this day the beating heart of UK counter culture, was too good an offer to refuse. And what better way to kick off than reviewing the debut EP from buzzin’ post punk rock ensemble “Fudge” who are busy creating a name for themselves with their live work and not to be confused with legendary anarcho-squat rockers “Fadge” both harking from the crucible of innovation in music that is Leeds as they do.
So what’s the rumpus? Well “Fudge” have been garnering more than their fair share of good copy lately that speaks of a dynamic, sweaty authenticity and raw power on stage (notably appearing on BBC introducing stuff at the 2019 Leeds and Reading festival) and now they’re out there, properly unleashed as it were with “Panic On”, an EP formatted release (released on 31/1/20) on multi digital platforms and limited physical goodness featuring 3 songs (all fan favourites and variants on formally released singles) taken from their set list.
Right, got that, so it’s no surprise that this is a demo quality no frills and essentially lo-fi affair. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that but that’s what your gonna get. You can actually feel the pressure of limited studio time on “Panic On”. “We know this shit inside out let’s get it down, clocks ticking our kid” and imagine the need for hot coffee to warm the hands as “Fudge” battle a frigid Leeds studio to lay down “Panic On” before eventually succumbing to hypothermia. OK who knows really, but that’s how it sounds. Not an A&R big shot or Svengali producer in sight. It’s urgent no nonsense pacy overdriven, guitar led riffing rock with edgy and slightly dangerous lyrics that suggest a night out with “Fudge” could end in A & E. “Walrus” is the stand out track for me and feels like Julian Cope in his most whacked out, army surplus, phase collaborated with Royal Blood.
There is an undoubted energy to this that should appeal to young rock fans beyond their core audience. And that’s the only caveat here. What “Fudge” have done here is released a statement of how they got where they are. It is a destination. It will be entirely familiar to those who already dig the “Fudge” and it’s by no means guaranteed to have a wider appeal meaning that “Fudge” are going to have to break out of a box of their own making here and move swiftly on and that’s why their next release will be so important. I hope they can find some industry backing and dare to be different while maintaining their balls to the wall devil may care attitude for the future and I’m betting that new material with a more refined production value will be well worth checking out.
I mean failing that just drive the whole lot upwards and out there with a jet phase analogue and backwards mix. It worked for Hendrix. All hail “Fudge”.