If you are a UK resident, chances are you haven’t heard of German 90’s alternative band, Locust Fudge.
Although signed to Sub Pop’s Euro division, Glitterhouse, they never made the splash here they did in Germany. Formed in 1992, they released two albums and an EP in their heyday – Flush, an acoustic album featuring mostly covers of their favourite songwriters like Lou Reed and Neil Young, and follow-up, Royal Flush, recorded on cassette 4-track, and now considered a classic in the ‘lo-fi glam folk’ genre.
The Business Express EP followed in 1997, forecasting Dirk Dresselhaus’ growing interest in electronic music, which would manifest itself properly on the first Schneider ™ release, Moist.
Since then, Locust Fudge have remained pretty low-key, playing a few sporadic live show appearances here and there. Now, for the first time in over 20 years, Locust Fudge have released a new album, Oscillation, on Play Loud.
The truly epic, 11+ minute, ‘Light & Grace’ opens the album, featuring the mind-blowing lead guitar work of J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr., who has never sounded better.
It’s apparent from the outset that despite the passing two decades, the band has not lost their blueprint for Sonic Youth like guitar and feedback, or penchant for Sebadoh inspired chord transitions. Indeed, the album as a whole sounds like a much more recent follow-up, much like My Bloody Valentine’s 2013 release, MBV.
Christopher Uhe (Krite) pens the next song, ‘Come On In’ – setting up the template of each successive song being written by either Krite or Schneider. Indeed, Krite’s more idiosyncratic songwriting plays well off Schneider’s classic 90s alternative songs.
Schneider’s modular system and processing are the only real indication of a modern influence, which can be heard throughout the album.
Saxophone overdubs by Ulrich Krieger provide a throwback to Schneider’s prior band, Hip Young Things, and help to keep things largely reminiscent of the past, without being overly nostalgic.
And thanks to the solid guitar work of Schneider, and perfectly complementary drum playing of newest member, Chikara Aoshima, and awesome, fuzzy bass work of Krite, the album has a strong replay value that becomes increasingly apparent to the listener over time. It closes with title track, ‘Oscillation’ which bears a striking resemblance to Neil Young’s ‘Keep On Rockin In The Free World’, harmonica and all, and probably the closest thing to a rock anthem that Locust Fudge have ever produced.
Someone once wrote that “their whole expression [was] one of unpretentiousness.” This trait is made resolutely clear in their new release, which differs from other 90s revival acts in that Locust Fudge are still the same cool, casually indifferent band, while carving a new future forward in the process.