Crystal Fairy - Crystal Fairy (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Crystal Fairy

Crystal Fairy (2017)


It’s clear that this is a case of love at first sight (between the three bands involved, that is.). Crystal Fairy includes Teri Suarez of Le Butcherettes, Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover of the Melvins and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of At the Drive and its obvious all three bands are enamored with each other.

As Buzz mentioned in other interviews, as soon as he saw Suarez open for Jello Biafra, he knew that he wanted to tour with her band Le Butcherettes. And of course, like most quick romances, things escalated quickly from there with Suarez closing out the Melvins set with a fiery rendition of Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl.” So, it’s no surprise that the bands involved wanted to make their fling official. Thus, they decamped to the studio and in less than a week wrote an recorded an entire album. So much for taking things slow.

The Crystal Fairy debut self-titled LP certainly feels like it was made in a flash. The eleven tracks speed by, flipping from riff to riff, track to track. In fact, the whole album has such an impulsive energy, it almost feels like it was recorded in a single, continuous take… and that’s a good thing.

Without taking time to take an objective look at themselves, the band seems to let their collective ID do the hard lifting and in that way, this record is a pure record- one that doesn’t worry about what people want from a Teri/Buzz/Dale/Omar combo, but one that simply is.

Suarez has stated that in contrast to the purposefully worded lyrics of Le Butcherettes, her Crystal Fairy writings are less calculated and more abstract. It works well, because without any pretention behind certain lines, she lets exposition do as much work as the letters. It’s a real kick to hear her belt it out on “Necklace of Divorce” where she adopts the forceful voice of Ann Wilson. “Drugs on the Bus” has wisps of Peter Murphy in its terse, cold delivery. The title track sounds like Joan Jett intro-ing a Runaways track. As Suarez zaps between different masks, it shows how she’s able to inhabit different modes (something that fewer artists do than you would think) but it’s also doubly worthy because, as she lets her guard down, we learn who this spitting, hissing, cooing woman might really be.

Likewise, the cliché with the Melvins is that they loooooove Black Sabbath and Kiss. To a degree, this is overstated and there’s more to the Melvins than liking those bands (check their covers record for evidence of that). But despite this, when chopping out an album in a weeks time, the boys do revert to what you might call their most natural form- riff masters. Osborne and Crover are clearly having a blast here, churning out Zoso , Volume Four (and perhaps moreso Hell Bent for Leather) worthy riffs. But, unlike those weed-soaked albums (maybe speed for Hell Bent) the band is fueled by their punk pedigree, keeping the music sharp, concise, and snappy. Even when they go low and heavy on “Moth Tounge,” there is a focus on economy- as Osborne slithers through the song with his creeping lines, Rodriguez-Lopez counters with a buzzing, distorted bass and there seems to be a joy in the interplay and sonic contrast here. Although Osborne loves to say “more is more,” here, it seems that “just enough” is “more” and every element here packs a punch ala those early punk classics. Check out their cover of Tales of Terror’s “Possession” for proof of that.

Crystal Fairy is still in the newlywed phase. We’ll see if that spark continues. But, to borrow a sappy cliché, judging from the chemistry on this record, this quartet feels like they were made for each other.