Southside Speedway

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Following a tour with pop-punk gods the Buzzcocks, Fudge returned to the studio to craft a quick follow-up to the well-received Ferocious Rhythm of Precise Laziness. With so much live playing under their belts and so much of that in front of punk audiences, it figures that the group would emphasize raw guitars over the drone-and-groove hybrid so dominant on their debut, and that is exactly what the they do on Southside Speedway. From the first beats of the rollicking first song, "Tree Fort Stash," which actually retains sticky lyrical themes from the Buzzcocks' "Orgasm Addict," it's clear this is a changed band -- harder and faster, less-obviously unique. Still, Fudge turns in a handful of winners. "Dart GT," though lacking much of a melody, is great car stereo material, and the tight "Patty Hearst Machine Gun" actually lives up to its superior title. It's telling that the album's best song, the simultaneously sunny and cynical "Superstar Junky," stresses the band's well-developed pop chops over their willingness to rock. But that's about it. Perhaps as a result of the rushed release, perhaps as a result of creative or personal differences within the band, most of the rest of Southside Speedway lingers in the choppy waters between undistinguished pop/rock and failed variations on the genre. It all may have sounded good in the clubs, but isn't particularly compelling or even listenable in the full-length format and has become less so with the passage of time. The album failed to make much of an impression at the time of its release, and Fudge broke up not long after.

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