The eclectic band from Costa Rica Hongo Fuu has released previous year their first full-length album after a couple of EPs (7 and 8 years ago), and this March Sliptrick Records has re-released it. Hongo Fuu is absolutely outside the traditional conception of musical styles, the crazy mix of dozens of musical genres boldly defines their uniqueness out of clichés and musical strategies.
The band’s productiveness isn’t too prominent, probably, this kind of material demands the great span of time and concentration to compose, but it is definitely worth it. Undoubtedly, the music of Hongo Fuu can’t aim for a commercial market, it is too bizarre and disparate, the term “avant-garde” rarely can break through the musical limitations, this kind of music asks for thoughtful and meticulous attentiveness to comprehend the profound essence of this complicated form of art. The eclectic eccentricities of Hongo Fuu ideally fit in the concept of absurd vision of avant-garde music.
“Fuu” is very controversial and ambiguous album not only in a musical way, but in a spiritual as well. This cosmic duality is very precisely displayed on the graphic and colorful cover art, but in a slightly humorous way. The first impression after its listening can be a little shallow and unfocused, but after the deeper immersion, “Fuu” takes on various shapes (playful, scary, nostalgic etc). But there are some common traces even on such a diverse record, like retro vibes or southern sound, so despite all these odd and extraordinary musical moves, “Fuu” is rather an old school record than modern piece of art. But with progressive ideas and psychedelic weirdness this album of Hongo Fuu is also far from classic rock of the previous century, breaking the glass ceiling and creating their own nonconventional world.
With the help of guest musicians from Costa Rica this strange foursome has fearlessly examined the musical possibilities through the rock, folk and avant-garde music. The creepy synthesizers, marimba and theremin (and the classical set of rock band’s instruments) added even more queerness to this release. The positive aura and generous hippie way of life challenges the opposite side of the record, full of dark cold-heartedness and psychedelic disharmony. The most stonery and grungy sound belongs to “Frégoli” and “El Culto al Hongo Azul”, emphasizing the fuzzy and acid influence. The heaviest song with black metal hints “Light of Dawn” is the antithesis of jolly rock’n’roll groovy tracks like “Ratwater” or “Frégoli”. The monotonous drabness (typical for long endings), noisy and drony sound, the Spanish folk (“Sleepyhead”), everything is mixed on this flamboyant and incredible album, so honest in its story-telling, and at the same time so abnormally furtive. So with a psychedelic background and art rock propriety, this miracle of eclectic moves hits the listener with an overdose of all the eventual musical experimentations.
The avant-garde scene with retro spirit is a truly strange phenomenon even for variable scene of 21st century, certainly “Fuu” dispelled all the boredom and classical traditions, demonstrating the thousands of options for musical evolution. Hongo Fuu lacks integrity and conceptual line, but their intricate musical flirtations and elimination of stereotypes compensate for this chaotic disharmony in full.
Release date: March 2, 2021
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