Folio Weekly - Super Famous Review

Gazing at the Reverbnation press kit page for Miami alt-rock quartet The Super Fuzz, my aging eyes were drawn to a stat chart I didn’t even know existed: a demographic breakdown of the band’s listening audience. Now, I get that these numbers are derived from some cheeseball space-age algorithm based solely on who logged on to the band’s Reverbnation page, not a random survey of the band’s audience on the last tour or even a unit-by-unit assessment of CD or download sales. But let’s entertain the numbers briefly, just for fun’s sake.

First, of The Super Fuzz’s 2,459 Reverbnation fans, 71 percent are male. Are they D&D players or single dads? Who the hell knows? But according to the algorithm, 71 percent have a penis. The majority flew in (virtually, anyway) from Facebook; a few others trickled down from Twitter. And almost all of them are from Florida.

The most alarming stat, though, is the age breakdown. A small percentage of listeners fall into the 25-34 and 35-44 group, but a huge number clock in at an ominous 45+. OK, I most certainly fall into that category, and the guys in the band are probably hitting that mark themselves (if they haven’t already). But I thought people with penises approaching 50 stopped listening to music and focused on things that really mattered, like golf carts and hair replacement treatments.

Yet as stated clearly on their press page, The Super Fuzz make no bones about drawing heavily from classic rock and ’90s hit lists. They cite The Beach Boys, Jellyfish, Cheap Trick, Weezer and Foo Fighters as influences, so it makes sense that graying, hunchbacked, mosh-phobic Floridians would be attracted to the band and their new album, Super Famous.

Hearing album-opener “Surprised Your Boyfriend’s Still Around,” I’d put The Super Fuzz in the Cave Dogs/Smithereens camp, hard-driving and raw, yet melodic and decidedly poppy. Track two, “Hooked,” is more playful and Weezerlike in a late-’60s sort of way, ironically documenting lyrically the social networking phenomenon and its effect on the ego. Both songs are sing-alongable, which is good for old bastards like me; the lyric repetition makes the song easy (or, more accurately, easiER) to remember.

A few songs in, “Promises” pops up, a mid-tempo near-Beatles ditty that bemoans the tragic loss of love. Something akin to a midlife crisis anthem, “Promises” benefits from big organs and a reverby guitar solo. It all harks back to ’70s rock balladeering. You know, like Cheap Trick used to do. Which is to say, just like The Beatles.

Maybe we should take a moment and address the obvious. Every non-Beatles band listed above was essentially a new rendering of The Beatles. Weezer, Cheap Trick, Smithereens, Cave Dogs, et al, drew deeply from The Beatles’ rock catalog. It’s frightening the influence the four Liverpool lads had on all of us, regardless of age, and I can attest the influence is still alive. My daughter’s favorite record right now is Abbey Road. She literally knows every word on the album (excepting those of “Something” which, she says, despite her love of George, is her least favorite Beatles song).

Please forgive the digression: I’m old, and I have a penis.

Moving on, “Lover’s Homicide” is too bluesy for my taste, and the lyrics (“Hey, you keep licking me the wrong way … you keep fucking me the wrong way”) come across as an aging rocker’s attempt to sound edgy. But, having spent the last decade playing local dives, I know plenty of 45+ers who would probably find this tune a splendid erectile dysfunction aid.

“Love Everyone” falls right back into Beatles camp, a slow, moody pop ballad with the Big Build before the chorus. As much as I want to hate this song, I like it. It’s formulaic and melodically predictable, but damn if it’s not catchy as hell and, thus, very likable. Jumping to the album-closer, we have an apropos big rocker, part bluesy barn-burner, part Cheap Trick at Budokan shouter, called “Speedball.” Super Fuzz even tips their hat, both lyrically and melodically, to Cheap Trick’s “Clock Strikes 10.” Can you hear the crowd holding up cell phones in appreciation?

If this comes across as somewhat derivative, well, it is. But remember, The Super Fuzz doesn’t care. They just want you to get your old bones out to a show and shake what you have left, before it falls off. And this is the kind of music you can do it to without too much worry. Just make sure your healthcare premiums are paid in full.

Pop Geek Heaven - Super Famous Review

Chris Alvy’s new band, like his previous, is Pop Rocks covered in beer, crunchy and sweet, redolent of the road house. Alvy’s fuzzy, flaming guitar struts out front like a break-dancing drum major. The chomping “Surprised Your Boyfriend’s Still Around” cedes to the aptly named “Speedball,” with its chiming doorbell anthem. “Promises” recalls the Rembrandts with its inchoate yearning that lies at the heart of most great pop. “The Music Has Gone Away” belies its title, mixing Turtles, Beach Boys, and Davenports-like elements. Alvy’s guitar is up front and center on the jagged “Lover’s Homicide,” which Taylor Swift would kill.

Four stars

Musicscribe - Super Famous Review

Taking a page from the way-out-front, exuberant playbook of Cheap Trick (“Speedball” even musically quotes Rockford’s finest), The Super Fuzz play a sort of glam-inflected, power-chording rock that puts strong emphasis on melody, groove, vocal harmony and roaring-guitar-centered performance and arrangement. One might detect hints of Fastball and Redd Kross in the grooves of Super Famous. Song titles like “Surprised Your Boyfriend’s Still Around” make it clear that this isn’t deep philosophy. What it is, is fun, fist-pumping rock that will have most listeners singing along. But please keep a hand on the steering wheel. Find this and buy it.

Baby Sue - Super Famous Review

No matter how long or no matter how far we go we will never ever get enough of pure feelgood pop/rock played with balls and conviction. That's just what you'll find plastered all over the latest release from the ultra cool guys in The Super Fuzz. So many bands and artists out there try way too hard and end up failing because they just don't have "it." If you loved the sound of all those incredible underground power pop bands from the 1990s you're gonna go apeshit over Super Famous. These guys definitely have the "it" factor...plus they've got totally addictive songs full of powerful feelgood energy. The press release that accompanied this album compared the band's sound to Foo Fighters, The Beach Boys, Cheap Trick, and Weezer. We can hear traces of all of these and more threaded through these tracks. Cool driving rhythms...powerful guitars...fantastic soaring melodies...and kickass vocals...what more could a power pop fan ask for? Killer tracks include "Hooked," "Surprised Your Boyfriend's Still Around," "Promises," "Lover's Homicide," and "Love Everyone." We'll be playing this one into the ground, that's for sure. Top pick.

Miami New Times - Super Famous Interview

Chris Alvy ranks among the most accomplished musicians South Florida has to offer. Born in Cuba, he’s been making music on his own and with others for the better part of the past twenty years, most recently with his band The Super Fuzz. The group – Alvy on vocals and guitar, bassist Darrell Killingsworth, drummer Todd Taulbee and guitarist Eric Sanchez – released the first Super Fuzz album Art Noise in 2012, and recently announced the release of a new effort entitled Super Famous, slated for May 19. Like its predecessor, it’s a high energy set of songs, infused with catchy refrains, effusive harmonies, relentless riffing and a penchant for power pop as strong as any outfit before or since.

Alvy’s trajectory is unusual to say the least. He began his career as a professional baseball player, initially with the Chicago White Sox, then with the New York Yankees, the Detroit Tigers, and the Houston Astros. He played various positions – first base, third base and left field – before an injury sidelined him permanently and turned his attention to making music.

These days, he looks back on that part of his life with fondness, but insists he has no regrets about what could have or should have been had he stayed in the major leagues. “My passion was always music, so sports was never my number one love,” Alvy insists. “I am very grateful to have gone through all those intense experiences you go through in such a competitive business, and a lot of those skills I learned in dealing with stress and competition I constantly apply to the music business. Believe it or not, the sports and music business are very similar in many ways.”

Alvy should know. He’s made a decent chunk of change writing songs for and performing with an impressive roster of big names – Chayanne, Maria, Conchita Alonso, Alto Reed of Bob Seeger’s Silver Bullet Band and others. He’s been signed as a staff writer to Sony ATV Publishing company since 2011 which has given him inroads into the Latin music scene. Nevertheless, it’s clear that Alvy’s commitment to power pop is unequivocal, as the two Super Fuzz albums attest. Echoes of Jellyfish, Squeeze, Redd Kross, the Raspberries, and other pop pundits are clearly evident throughout. There’s little doubt however that Alvy and company bring plenty of their own effusive enthusiasm to their efforts, ensuring they labor in no one else’s shadows.

We recently sat down with Mr. Alvy and asked him to share some facts about Super Fuzz.

New Times: How did you come to write the songs for this new album?

Chris Alvy: About a year into the promotion of our previous album, I started getting the itch to start writing again for the band. I write for different genres and artists, but I felt it was time to start focusing on the rock material once again. I knew I wanted to do another Super Fuzz record since we had such a blast recording and performing the first one. I wrote around 20 to 25 new songs in a four to six month period and started demoing the tunes in my studio and sending them to the band and our manager for feedback. In that batch of songs there were some that were mellow acoustic tunes as well as the more hard edge, upbeat stuff we are known for. In the end, we ended up keeping and recording thirteen new songs and we condensed the record to ten. The leftover material will eventually get mixed and released as The Super Fuzz singles and the mellower tunes will also eventually get released, although most likely not as a Super Fuzz project. 

 

Music Musings and Such - "Hooked" Review (Single)