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Fuzzbox - Look at the Hits on That!

Review: Jack Foley

GIVEN the current post-punk 80s revival that's sweeping all before it at the moment, it's little wonder that some of the actual artists from that era are putting out greatest hits compilations.

Step forward Fuzzbox, a quartet of eccentric teenage punk queens with day-glo hair from Birmingham, who charmed the press by being quirky and quotable.

Boasting a name that was more memorable than many of the tracks (the full length version is We've Got A Fuzzbox and We're Gonna Use It), the band first rose to prominence in the summer of '85, when the four got together for a once-in-a-lifetime, one-off gig to open for a friend's band at a local club.

Just like many punk bands, Maggie, her sister, Jo, and Jo's schoolmates, Tina and Vickie, had never played before, together or separately.

Yet, in spite of confessing to sounding awful, the band were asked back and it wasn't long before the boss of Vindaloo Records wanted to sign them to a contract.

In the spring of '86, therefore, their double-A sided single, Rules and Regulations/XX Sex stormed its way to the independent number one spot, for an impressive nine-week stint.

The rest, as they say, is history.

The greatest hits comes across like a frenetic, sped-up, 80s-coated version of Transvision Vamp, No Doubt and Hole, with plenty of attitude and double-entendres galore.

Yet as fun as it is in places (the effervescent Pink Sunshine, for example), most of the tracks have failed to stand the test of time, making the best of collection the sort of compilation album that is strictly for the fans or nostalgia-freaks only.

The biggest compliment that can be paid to them, however, is that at the height of their fame, they were session regulars of the late John Peel, who took a shine to them.

His reputation for picking up new bands and giving them a showcase on his Radio shows remains his lasting legacy.

If nothing else, Peel's connection to Fuzzbox might bring their greatest hits, remixes and video collection some lasting recognition.

(Incidentally, the name Fuzzbox, while a double entendre, also stands for a distortion pedal for guitar and bass which the band used in most of their songs).

Track listing:
Rules & Regulations
X X Sex
Rockin' With Rita
Love Is The Slug
Wait And See
Spirit In The Sky
What's The Point
Taking The Easy Way Out
So Long
International Rescue
Fast Forward Futurama
Pink Sunshine
Walking On Thin Ice
Your Loss My Gain
Do I Want To? (1990)
International Rescue (Droyds Mix)
Fast Forward Futurama featuring Manda Rin (Syndrum Mix)
Rules & Regulations (Motormark Remix)
International Rescue (Koishii & Hush Single Edit)

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