Having seen Fuzzy Lights live, I can testify that the Cambridgeshire quintet are absolutely tremendous in that setting, their understated stock delivery offset frequently by squalls of noise astonishingly out of keeping with what surrounds them. It’s as if they sometimes get bored of the slow stuff and decide to play heavy metal for a couple of minutes.
Not entirely surprisingly, these dynamic shifts are of a less dramatic nature on record. They are still in evidence, sufficiently so that their 2008 debut A Distant Voice is aptly far removed from what has come since. Rule Of Twelfths follows the path trodden by 2010’s Twin Feathers, with the band always ready to cut loose, and though there is perhaps nothing quite as apocalyptic as that album’s ‘Fallen Trees’, this Jekyll-and-Hyde approach is their greatest strength.
Husband-and-wife co-vocalists Xavier and Rachel Watkins bring different strengths to the table and their harmonies on ‘Fever Dreams’ provide the album’s prettiest moment. Though Rachel’s is probably the more striking voice on the whole, Xavier is front and centre on stand-out track ‘Restless’ and also contributes the unsettling distorted vocal for closing track ‘Coming Home’.
The nine songs – the band are oddly consistent in that ration of tracks to an album – stretch to almost 38 minutes but this is still comfortably the shortest set to date with no repeat to the seven- and eight-minute epics found on Twin Feathers. Strangely, though, this leaner writing style has not necessarily yielded a more engaging album, with songs washing together somewhat despite the jarring approach to holding a listener’s attention. It’s a good album, but Fuzzy Lights remain a band best experienced on stage. You should definitely do that though.
Words: Tom White