Recommended If You Like: Radiohead, Alabama Shakes, Yes, Led Zeppelin
There’s something truly mesmerizing about psychedelic rock music: It connects to our world by consciously attempting to stray from it, introducing concepts and ideas that inevitably lead us back to reality, where we can relate to and observe our surroundings with a new perspective. The Fuzzy Crystals are excellent storytellers: Their latest song, “The King Is Dead,” highlights the band’s ability to transport us to a new plane through music, but it is the song’s deeper takeaways that will keep us coming back to it time and again: Through an enchantingly dark haze of sound and color, The Fuzzy Crystals remind us that even in humanity’s worst moments, there is a hopeful light at the end of the tunnel.
The alabaster faces of our enemies arise,
circling our city from below.
When misbegotten messengers spread treachery and lies,
the people lift their voices to the senators and cry
The king is dead! The king is dead!
The withered body, the fallen head.
But we will live, and peace will rise.
The truth is born but never dies.
Listen: “The King Is Dead” – The Fuzzy Crystals
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “The King Is Dead,” the lead single off The Fuzzy Crystals’ upcoming sophomore record Crystal Magic (independently out May 26, 2017). The Los Angeles-based ten piece consider themselves “a bunch of spaced-out freaks on a mission” – “an engaging league of transcendental minds comprised of over 300 years of collective musical experience, hailing from all four corners of the United States (and Spain).” Whether their heads are in the clouds or in another dimension, The Fuzzy Crystals are most certainly grounded when it comes to two of the most important qualities for a band, creativity and musicianship. Recorded live and mixed directly to two-track 1/2″ tape with the help of Gus Seyffert (Beck, The Black Keys, James Supercave), the follow-up to 2016’s It’s Over shows just how quickly a dedicated group of musicians can develop their identity and grow together: The songs on the band’s debut are highly unique and distinct, but lighter and folk influenced.
There’s nothing left for anyone to speak of anymore,
for the dreamer has awakened from his sleep.
The clock is striking endlessly above the city square,
as the ministers escape into their reverie and prayer.
“The King Is Dead” puts down the Grateful Dead record and picks up the Yes, Black Sabbath and Radiohead discs. The power of indie rock surges through the air on thick, overdriven electric guitars and heavy, concentrated drums. A strong identity arises as The Fuzzy Crystals deliver a level of syncopated rock that is full of tight chord changes and breathtaking guitar solos, the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite a while.
The lyrics depict a world in recovery. The truth will never die! sings the band as they rejoice in the fall of a cruel king. In the wake of one door’s closing comes another door’s opening: The dreamer has awakened from his sleep… We will live, and peace will rise.
Connect the dots however you like; this is most certainly a protest song. “‘The King is Dead’ is about the breakdown of authority, the crumbling of traditions, and the moment when the darkest impulses of human beings break through into the light of day,” explains the band. “Although painful and even at times horrifying, this moment inevitably culminates in renewal, rebirth, and a deep rekindling of the creative force inside the human mind.”
Rock music hasn’t had this much fuel behind it in quite some time. “The King Is Dead” is a high-powered charge of sonic emotion, a lustful wrenching off of chains as The Fuzzy Crystals welcome a new world order. Yes, this song is revolutionary, but it is not as far a cry as some might think. All over the world, nations including the United States are wrestling between inclusive globalism and self-serving nationalism. If the air seems tenser than it was a year or two ago, that’s because it is. Music has always been an outlet for the most powerful self-expressions, and it comes as no surprise that some of the best music might come at some of our hardest times.
Warring factions within one man crack the castle walls
and overrun again.
Fire dancing across the sky surround the seven suns
until they burn as one.
Secrets whispered upon the wind compel the ancient wisdom
to extinguish it.
The voice of nature begins the song of sleep beyond the stars
inside of everyone.
The Fuzzy Crystals leave us with what almost feels like a warning – an ominous poem, sung in tantalizing harmonies and supported by a beautiful acoustic guitar. Take from The Fuzzy Crystals what you will, but consider this: Whatever world we live in, it is our responsibility to be the best possible version of ourselves. What a terrible world we would live in if everyone only acted in the best interest of themselves. Hold yourself to a higher standard: Don’t make excuses. Slow down. Hold the door for someone. Smile. Do you share in making the world a better place; one person’s actions go a lot farther than you think.
Of course, the beauty of real beauty of psychedelic rock is its widely interpretive nature. Listen to “The King Is Dead” and draw your own conclusion from The Fuzzy Crystals! Music this good is made for questions, not answers. Crystal Magic, The Fuzzy Crystals’ sophomore album, releases May 26, 2017. Pre-order it now on Bandcamp.
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cover © Andrew MacPherson