For anyone who is familiar with the local Leeds music scene, they will know the significance of DIY music venue Chunk when it comes to supporting independent bands from the UK and beyond. It’s here that I join Fuzzhoneys on the final date of their autumn UK tour that marks the release of the band’s debut album Love Juice.
Guitarist Francesca and drummer Caroline take to the stage in woolly jumpers and hats. It’s a cold night – far from the Mediterranean climate offered by their home country of Malta – but this doesn’t put off either band nor audience. Their set begins with ‘Circulation’, one of the offerings from Love Juice, and I’m instantly reminded of one of the reasons why I like the duo so much. Their riff-heavy stripped down setup has a distinct mix of spacey, bluesy garage rock influences that blend genres and come together to produce something fresh. It’s a welcome change from some of the dull ‘landfill-indie’ bands that have cropped up over the past few years.
Second song ‘Bonnie’ is one of my personal favourites, with the rousing opening line “You can be my Bonnie baby, I can be your Clyde/ There’s nothing funny baby, nowhere left to hide”. According to their website, each song on Love Juice is lyrically driven by its own character and concept, which thematically explores identity and the way one presents themselves to the world. Musically, there’s some serious White Stripes channelling here in the fuzzed up guitars and a pounding bass drum beat that reverberates through the floorboards and up my legs to make my knees shake.
The set flows on, toeing the line between gritty garage rock and sweet femininity: the fuzz and the honey coming together accompanied by classic Big Muff fuzz pedal tones and heavy bass drumbeats. There’s no wild stage show, no frantic jumping around or headache-inducing headbanging, but this only gives weight and focus to the music and songwriting itself. Both musicians work together effortlessly to deliver their performance, splitting vocals on songs with lines bouncing off one another, from higher ranged sweet as sugar melodies, to bluesy growls and back again.
Other highlights of the set include ‘Femmetastic’ with its pulsing tempo changes and playful girly vocals and ‘Candy’, the first single from Love Juice, which comes with a freshly released trippy music video.
And of course, what gig in Leeds is complete without the classic chant of “York-shire, York-shire”, followed by calls for an encore from the audience. Overall, it’s been really great to see the band back in the UK and to share the last date of what has been their second UK tour with them. They’ve got an exciting future ahead, and with their UK presence steadily increasing I can’t recommend enough catching them if you have the opportunity to.
Featured image: Marija Grech