The Fucking Am 

Gold

A ferocious, pulverizing, mostly instrumental metal trio comprising SF indie rock hipsters (including Tim Green, formerly of DC revolutionary punks Nation of Ulysses), the Fucking Champs perform in small venues devoid of the metal scene's rampaging hoards -- their audience is the indie-geek crowd, or at least the portion with an ironic affection for soaring-on-eagles'-wings classic metal. However, unlike other indie bands that have attempted metal, these guys have the chops to pull off elfin solos and mastodon-sized riffage. Their debut masterpiece, III (recorded under the name C4AM95), is probably the greatest metal album ever crafted by a pseudometal band. But real metal fanatics have never heard of the Fucking Champs, and the band members are shy, quiet fellows who have not sought out that crowd.

For this side project, they've teamed up with Trans Am, an experimental, synth-heavy group also fond of meandering instrumentals. The result should be more emphatic than it is. Many of the songs open with a promising retro '70s-style riff, as on "Doing Research for an Autobiography," which features some fancy organ stylings and meaty drum fills, and "Taking Liberties," an Eddie Money- or Steve Miller-type rocker. But neither song really goes anywhere. "The Gauntlet" has some roboty vocals and lots of synth squealing, but normally a Fucking Champs song with a title like that should splatter the listener's brains. Not so with anything on Gold. Perhaps the best song here is "Acoustico Gomez," a grand, hobbity, science-fiction number with organs interplaying with plucked acoustic guitar and monk-style chanting. But it's part of a trilogy that also includes the lesser tracks "Elastico Gomez" and "Electrico Gomez," which, like the rest of this record, doesn't rock nearly as hard as the Champs' usual molten offerings.

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