By: Eliza Goldstein
I’ve never been to Los Angeles, but when I listen to LA trio Fuzz Francis’ debut single Say Sorry, released July 11th, I can almost feel the wind blow through my hair as I roll down Ventura Boulevard in some flashy convertible. In the way that The Killers are known for incorporating the feel of their native Las Vegas into their early music, Fuzz Francis seems to have done the same. From the first wavering guitar chord and punchy drum fill, Say Sorry somehow embodies that Hollywood romanticism, sunny skies and carefree days.
I’m inclined to believe this “romantic” feel one gets stems from the musical style, harkening back to pop rock of the 80s and early 90s. In vocalist Beth D’s melodies I can clearly hear influence from The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan; a comparison also made in the band’s bio.
I hear more of The Cranberries in the unification of the guitar and vocal track. Lingering chords and distorted tone pair perfectly with Beth’s breathy yet full vocals to create the dream pop sound that The Cranberries became famous for.
Supported by a controlled drum beat and a bassline sassier and fuzzier than your favorite sweater, the rhythm section brings a hint of 80s East Coast punk, like Blondie, into the mix.
Say Sorry is not all bright guitar and dance-y drum beats. A great strength of the single is the contrast of carefree sounding music with melancholic lyrics. The very first lines of the song shove this contrast right in your face; “Burn through me/I’m a cigarette in your hand.” Ouch. I thought we were going to the beach?
The contradiction of music and lyrics are really my favorite aspect of the whole song. I love the fact that you could be listening to the instrumentation and be cruising through LA with the sun shining overhead, and when you start paying attention to the lyrics, you’re suddenly alone in your bedroom and it’s raining and you’re crying Beth’s refrain: “I’m falling apart.”
A stark sense of surrealism is added to the listening experience by such opposition of tones. As I played Say Sorry time and time again, I began to feel a kind of cognitive dissonance; as if I was in this dreamworld that the song created. This impression of dissociation was most heightened at 1:53 when the song slows down for a bridge full of swirling layered vocals and the ever-steady bass.
In a way, the feeling I experienced is similar to the feeling of the story in the song. When your world is falling apart around you, when you can’t understand why you’re not good enough for the person you love, a part of you will try to create this bright, sunny place full of fuzzy basslines and distorted guitars. The other part of you will still be stuck in your misery with a chorus of minor chords and vocals that swell and taper off with emotion.
Say Sorry is the only song by Fuzz Francis that you can find online right now. In their Facebook bio they state that they are currently recording their debut EP in Los Angeles. I am sincerely impressed by this debut single, and can’t wait for what comes next.