If you’ve not yet come to know who Le Butcherettes are or you’ve been away from Earth for 20 years and don’t know who At The Drive In or The Mars Volta are, you’ve still got the Melvins for a good point of reference with Crystal Fairy. With vocals, keys, and guitar from Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes), bass laid down by Omar Rodriguez Lopez (ATDI, The Mars Volta) joining the ‘anything can go’ team of the Melvins’ Dale Crover on drums and King Buzzo manning a guitar, Crystal Fairy’s eponymous debut LP is what you’ll get.
At first sight, seeing these names come together might bring up words like experimental, unconventional, enigmatic, bizarre, imaginative, etc. Those words can certainly apply, but not in any heady or lofty manners of speaking. Crystal Fairy’s debut release is a solid rock album that is nicely transparent, in that, the results of this convergence of sonic personalities are immediate and it operates on a really accessible level for maximum enjoyment for all. They eliminate any concern regarding the potential for high-brow musical pretense. All of that disappears by the end of the first chorus of “Chisler,” which opens the record with an atmosphere created with big, true-blue rock riffing and the intriguing nature of Teri Gender Bender’s vocal performance.‘
Crystal Fairy’, as an album, is up front with its presentation. Dale and Buzz seem to really take the reins where musical stylings are concerned, which is implicated by the vast guitar-driven presence and a full bottom end section that’s staunch and substantial. There’s a curious dichotomy established early on between that thick rock air and Teri’s idiosyncratic vocal presence that, though sometimes subtle, hints of something bigger that could pop off at any second, which creates a welcome tension; see “Drugs On the Bus.” As the record progresses, the band offers a kaleidoscopic array of sonic paths that range from the straightforward direction of rock & roll—“Necklace of Divorce” and “Secret Agent Rat”—to the twists and turns of swirling psychedelics that vary their extremes, in tracks like “Moth Tongue,” “Under Trouble,” and “Bent Teeth.”
At the heart of it all is the relationship between the concrete nature of the band’s musical presence and the potential for Teri to take her impeccable deliveries that can go from subdued to unhinged and back in a five second span of time. Hopefully, this experience was as good for the band as the album is to spin over and over again. Because if that’s the case, we can look forward to great things from Crystal Fairy in the future. Now, are they prepared to take this thing out on tour? Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope.