People try to tell you that the 80s was all Thatcherite greed and squeaky corporate Stock Aitken Waterman pop. Yet far more people were listening to Crass than making millions off privatisation. Still more were putting money in the collection buckets for the miners strike.
It's this 80s that spawned Fuzzbox (as they were always known due to their full name - We've Got A Fuzzboz And We're Gonna Use It - being too unwieldy for anyone to use).
As a teenager at the time, this first EP of theirs hit me like an amphetamine pessary. The songs were rough and playful, sleazy and aggressive, assertive and boisterous, big-hearted and defiant. I played the opening song, XX Sex, over and over and genuinely thought I might have found the greatest track ever recorded.
These were simple shambolic and heavy riffs. Like the Jesus and Mary Chain's seminal album Psychocandy a year earlier, they took classic pop structure and layered it with distortion.
Unlike the Mary Chain, this was four women conscious of having something to say. It wasn't from a swanky London major but on some provincial indie label. Their songs addressed sexism yet, like Strawberry Switchblade before them, they eschewed the brand of feminism that saw dressing up as a sop to male desire. It's no coincidence that the EP was issued with some copies on pink vinyl, some on blue.
They exuberantly self-defined even as they declared that they were still searching for who they were. More than anyone else, Fuzzbox paved the way for the Riot Grrl bands of the early 90s, yet unlike some of those they never got pretentious.
They got in there, made their point and fucked off. No noodling about. The longest song on the EP is short of three minutes. The other three clock in at under two minutes each. This was all the integrity of punk with a new pop effervescence.
Ignore their corporate makeover and plasticised comeback attempt a couple of years later. This is the real fucking deal.
download XX Sex (2.7MB MP3)
download Do I Want To? (2.6MB MP3)
download Rules and Regulations (4.2MB MP3)
download She (1.8MB MP3)