Fugue State - Subtlety's Dead - Track By Track Review

Ville S. Music Reviews

For the friends of: 'The Cramps', 'Butthole Surfers', 'Melvins' 
Genre: garage rock, noise rock
Year: 2023
Country: US
Favorite track(s): 'Mundane Man' and 'Connecticut Girls'
Emoji: 🖕
Random words: careless
Instagram: @brainshuno

'Fugue State' presents a rock 'n' roll exorcism, tackling the paranoia of contemporary existence and the frustration that arises from unfulfilled potential. This unique blend of free association and garage punk sleaze offers a contemplation on the cacophonous, the ambiguous, and the unpredictable.

Emerging from the isolating experiences of 2020-2022, 'Shane Bruno' embarks on a new musical endeavor with 'Fugue State'. While Bruno's previous involvement with 'Bridge of Flowers' and others revolved around experimental music, 'Fugue State' is a departure for this longtime admirer of both garage and experimental genres. Drawing inspiration from revered acts like 'Pere Ubu', 'The Cramps', 'Butthole Surfers', and early releases from 'Sympathy For The Record Industry', Bruno crafts a sound that encapsulates the essence of rock.

Describing the music of 'Fugue State', 'Dan Timlin', the founder of 'Strange Mono Records', refers to it as "free association meets garage punk sleaze—a contemplation on the noisy, the unclear, and the uncertain." 

Let's dig into the six tracks!

The opening track is a homage to the revered US rock 'n' roll scene, incorporating elements of experimental lo-fi sound and a garage punk attitude. The fundamental structure of the composition is straightforward, complemented by an assertive guitar track that refuses to compromise. The entirety of the track can be interpreted as a middle finger directed toward the entire music industry.

The combination of the acoustic guitar and the distorted bass guitar yields an intriguing sonic vibe, generating tension throughout the atmosphere. The deliberate use of off-beat rhythms adds a distinct touch to the composition. If extended and amplified, the track could potentially evoke a sense of doom. Personally, I find this unconventional arrangement somewhat challenging, as it ventures into experimental territory while deviating from established rhythmic patterns.

'Mundane Man'
The third track reintroduces the essence of rock 'n' roll. The vocals exude an almost 'Elvis'-like style, while the saxophone adds a delightful old-school rock vibe to the music. The guitars continue their frenzied performance, like in previous tracks. Despite its raucous nature, the track possesses a surprisingly captivating quality, making it one of the standout pieces on the album.

'The Pipeline'
Evidently, the lengthiest composition on the release, 'The Pipeline' stretches close to five minutes in duration, considerably longer than the other tracks averaging around two minutes. It exudes a jam-like and improvisational character, evoking a blend of noise rock and kraut rock with a hypnotic touch. While certain intricate nuances can be appreciated, some aspects, particularly the guitar line, can become annoying.'Connecticut Girls'
This track presents itself as a straightforward noise rock piece, once again featuring the characteristic rock 'n' roll vocals. It is the most accessible track on the album, devoid of the intense and erratic guitar lines prominent in the other compositions. Perhaps, it is this relative simplicity that contributes to my personal favor for this particular track.

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