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FUZZY (Buy CDs by this artist)
Fuzzy EP (Aus. Half a Cow) 1993
Fuzzy (Seed) 1994
Electric Juices (Tag/Atlantic) 1996

For an industry that lacks corporate clout or the potential for economies of scale, the samizdat internationalism of indie-pop style is a marvel of efficient communications and stylistic cross-pollination. A pretty-noise Boston quartet that formed on a whim, Fuzzy — thanks to a Lemonhead rhythm section connection — had its practice tape released as a six-song EP in another hemisphere even before it got up the confidence to begin playing in the shadow of Fenway Park. (Half a Cow is the label run by Nic Dalton, the ex-Lemonheads bassist who leads Godstar, in which members of Fuzzy have played.)

Before the recording of the full-length Fuzzy (as cleaned-up demos), drummer David Ryan found himself free of Evan Dando's employ and joined up, providing a bedrock motor for singer/guitarists Chris Toppin and Hilken Mancini, whose airy sopranos and sustained distortion leads float the band into mid-Atlantic geographic uncertainty. With a folky strain and passing resemblances to Juliana Hatfield, Velvet Crush, Veruca Salt and Elastica, Fuzzy is a lightweight, familiar pleasure, all kicky tunes ("Sports" and "4 Wheel Friend," both sung by Mancini, jump out), personal lyrics and peppy enthusiasm.

Electric Juices is better on all counts: songs, harmony singing, performances and production (half-and-half by Tim O'Heir and Paul Q. Kolderie). Having located a sound for itself — nothing original, but a consistent stylistic approach that guides the new wavey pop effort — the band smartly applies it to super-catchy songs both original ("Glad Again," "It Started Today" and the very Breeders-like "One Request" are highlights) and borrowed (Brian Wilson's "Girl Don't Tell Me," initially revived by the Smithereens). Sweetly engaging and as freshly cut as a suburban lawn on Sunday afternoon, Electric Juices is Fuzzy perfection.

[Ira Robbins]
   See also Godstar, Lemonheads