Friday, September 21, 2012

... C.F.A. "Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God"

The term "Stoner-Core" is a silly one to describe music that makes use of classic Hard Rock riffing and a tinge of rawness manifest in snotty vocals, short songs with simple structures and quite a bit of speed. Enter debutants C.F.A. who are reckless enough to call themselves like this, but other than that make for some pretty entertaining, although not outstanding muzak.

Alabama Thunderpussy and the likes come to mind, only sans Southern Rock, maybe because the trio hails from Tacoma, Washington. In any event, bass player Cody Foster (The band's name means "Cody Foster Army") and guitarist Dave Takata occasionally split up the singing, a fact from which their typecast sound only benefits. Within their well-defined limits, C.F.A. are relatively versatile when it comes to stylistic preferences. "Third Side" harks back to Budgie's seminal "Breadfan" and "Chorus" comes up with the strongest double vocals, just like the somewhat surprising Marley-cover "Iron Lion Zion", as well as a breakneck ending, while "Lost Wisdom" later on keeps thrashing throughout. Solos and leads are used in small but effective doses, since generally, C.F.A. are not about frills, which is probably why they have chosen to apply the thought-terminating cliché-suffix "Core".

Apart from mutilating Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son", the trio bores with "Apple", "Sons Of Soil" and "Holy Colonoscopy", three more or less interchangeable tunes. The latter features admittedly noteworthy lyrics while elsewhere on the record, C.F.A. fall short of impressing with strong content. Therefore, if you're looking for depth, this is not it. Some tracks come across witty, be it "Shake Your Ass" with its dull repetition of just these words, and the more appealing "Shut Up Your Face", but the true highlights are found in the soulful "Built Up Knocked Down" and the dynamic finale "Inhabit".

This is the way these three musos should follow in the future because their alleged crossover is nothing of that kind and has long since fallen flat on its face: C.F.A. are not the first Stoner group that belies the soothing qualities of weed with their vigorous sound. As it is, "Managed By The Devil, Brought To You By The Grace Of God" is one of oh so many fire-and-forget-affairs: immediate fun, quick surfeat - and what they lack in originality they make up with energy.

words by Andreas Schiffmann

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