After some fine single and compilation cuts, including the ridiculously great "Still California," which appears here, Furry Things achieved both a full band lineup and a fantastic overall debut with Big Saturday Illusion. Like many American indie groups of the '90s, the quartet's debt to fuzz pedal abusers such as My Bloody Valentine and the Flaming Lips was plenty clear throughout the album. Happily the group avoided sounding like just another knockoff, with a good balance of garage-level crash and bash and fried psychedelic feedback topped off with sometimes wispy, sometimes softly drawling vocals. Big Saturday hints at big ambitions without sounding full of itself, even on the biggest track of all, the heavy Krautrock megajam "Nothing From Zero." Opening cut "Introism" is also notable, oddly enough, for its ending: soft piano parts regularly interrupted by the dying remnants of feedback from the main song. Elsewhere there's instances of completely going over the edge; one cut, with its near painful metallic, shimmering loop of feedback, sounds like a fine early Electric Company outtake (making Brad Laner's future work with the group all the more understandable). Guitarist Ken Gibson and bassist Cathy Shive either trade off or share vocals, and while comparisons to Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher are understandable, generally speaking the two have a clearer diction while still getting lost in the epic wooziness, as on the appropriately titled "Take You Away." Drummer Charlie Woodburn, meanwhile, makes for a good addition; if not a great drummer per se, he's a good one, adding due punch to tracks like "Porno Queen's Love Dive." Even when the band tones things down a bit, there's a little something around to spike the punch -- thus the dreamy, steady groove of "Cats," with tape suddenly stopped and reversed, not to mention the murky, sudden downward plunge in its final seconds.
Big Saturday Illusion Review
by Ned Raggett