The Fugs, retitled The Fugs Second Album for a later reissue, finds them sounding more professional than on their debut, and still sounding very ahead of their time lyrically, expressing sentiments in ways that just hadn't been done before. Lyrically, many of the tracks on this album wouldn't be out of place on any Dead Kennedys record, but like the Dead Kennedys, the Fugs' weakness for crude humor puts a damper on the whole affair. Sometimes the jokes work ("Dirty Old Man"), sometimes they don't ("Mutant Stomp"), but they're always entertaining. At times, Ed Sanders' nasal whine and clichéd hippie posturing can grow tiresome ("Frenzy," "Group Grope"), but a few true gems do manage to shine through. "Morning Morning" and "I Want to Know," which wouldn't have been out of place on The Velvet Underground & Nico, are true highlights. Like Reed, the revolutionary tag is placed on the Fugs for the sheer frankness they used to deal with the taboo. But whereas Reed dealt with the dark sides of promiscuity and drug use, the Fugs celebrate it, and most times in a very exhibitionist way. Biting social commentary, as on "Doin' All Right," is articulately done, and while being listenable, is not outstanding in musical terms. Bonus tracks, such as "Carpe Diem," are nice additions, and "Wide Wide River," which has a faux gospel feel, is appropriate for the sermonizing the Fugs do on the song, as throughout the album. Overall, The Fugs is an interesting historical footnote.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Matt Fink