I’m not a fan of the term “supergroup” for what it, in my mind, implies: veteran musicians past their prime uniting with each other because they can’t individually create on their own the way they used to. It also detracts from the integrity of the band as just a “band” — makes the band into some kind of concept, or side project, something lesser. So, Crystal Fairy is NOT a supergroup, though it’s members are all highly skilled innovators whose resume is highly impressive. Let’s just get those juicy deets out of the way first thing: Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover of The Melvins, Omar Rodriguez-López of At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta, and Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes.
It’s a crazy marriage of sludge metal, post hardcore art rock, and Mexican garage punk that makes little sense on paper but, in the studio, has resulted in a debut album that boggles the brain as it transports the mind. It’s psychedelic punk with a classic rock foundation sung by a vocalist schooled in the stylings of both Robert Plant and Kathleen Hanna. Riot Grrl meets Cock Rock.
How did it come about? Le Butcherettes were touring in support of The Melvins, Rodriguez-López was also out on that tour as a documentary photographer and the natural meshing of master minds ensued. The album has that improvisational, experimental feel to it — an undercurrent of nonchalance that makes it sound as if these cool cats didn’t give much thought as to whether or not this project would be a commercial success. It feels more like a jam session amongst artistic minds that needed to be purged.
Lucky for us listeners, the product is every bit as enticing as would be expected. Start with the straightforward hellfire of “Chisler,” “Crystal Fairy,” and “Bent Teeth” and then work your way into the more chimeric “Drugs on the Bus” and “Moth Tongue.”