Space Mushroom Fuzz – “Man in the Shadow” (self-released 2013)

With two full-length albums and an EP released in 2012, you’d think this Boston duo would be ready for a break. But hot on the heels of the Trapped in the Past EP comes their latest full length album, Man in the Shadow.

Abrams and Belcastro kick things off with Blue Haze, one of the best songs they’ve done so far. It’s the tale of a stoner from the future (perhaps our own time), who is transported back in time to the 1970’s. And for a time, it does transport you back to this bygone era, with its groovy riffing and catchy, blissed out chorus, until about the three and a half minute mark, where it takes a left turn into cosmic realms for a dynamic jam that goes on for another 7-minutes, taking the listener beyond the 1970’s into pure spacerock nirvana. It’s followed by the darker urban psychedelia of Through the Sonic Haze. The riffs and drumming are very creative, and they’re layered with a fluttering effect that adds a kind of eerie trippiness to the song. Sacrifice captures a more stripped down, stonerish vibe with its bassy chords, rumbling undertones and downbeat chorus. Cold Hands surprises, being something of bluesy ballad, punctuated throughout with Abrams’ acid-fried guitar fills. Blue Days is a deep and mysterious instrumental, with Clay Neely of Black Pyramid (who played on the Trapped in the Past EP) guesting, laying down some tribalesque drumming as Abrams explores strange melodies on what sounds like both electric and acoustic guitars. A Real Wild Child draws things to a close, another great head nodding tune, built on a killer riff that falls somewhere between 60’s garage rock and proto-punk (with a little 13th Floor Elevators thrown in there for a bit too).

The ‘Blues’ score big this time out, with both Blue Haze and the instrumental Blue Days being the standout tracks on Man in the Shadow. But the other songs hold their own too, especially the raw and energetic A Real Wild Child. The overall sound this time out veers away from the Hawkwind influenced sonics of the first two albums as Abrams and Belcastro explore a bit more naked and gritty sound, working it into their own unique Space Mushroom Fuzz blend. Excellent stuff! It will be interesting to hear where they take us next.

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Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald

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