In some ways, "psychedelic surf rock" is both an overly reductive and perfectly apt way to describe Fuzz Ghost, the debut EP from Nashville three-piece Goth Babe (very recently renamed from, well, Fuzz Ghost). It's laden with crunchy guitars, distorted vocals, and plenty of reverb, yes—but what makes this album stand out from its contemporaries is its borderline-academic commitment to pop sensibility.
I don't know much about Griffin Washburn, the man behind the moniker, aside from the fact that this is his first release on underground Richmond, VA label Ongakubaka Records. It's pretty clear after even a cursory listen through his debut, though, that the guy knows how to craft an earworm. From the anticipatory opening riff of "Sandy Bum" to the final, emphatic solo that closes out "Sunshine," it's hard not to hang on every note, unconsciously bobbing your head along like an idiot.
Fuzz Ghost seems to have been lumped in with the work of Wavves and Ty Segall on various outlets (not bad company, certainly), but in place of the former's occasional emo-revival vibe and the latter's overt psychedelia, Washburn brings a bit more DIY earnestness to his delivery (somewhat reminiscent of Wakes). Maybe it's just my anecdotal experience as an angsty teen, but I can't help being transported back to the days when I pretended I knew how to skateboard.
By any standard, this is an impressive EP. But when judged as the debut record of a college band that's only been at it for a couple years? I think it's safe to get our hopes up for more great things to come.