The Fuzziyama Surfers - Wild Echizen

The Fuzziyama Surfers - Wild Echizen

As global as the surf scene is today, I feel like we only get glimpses of what's happening in Japan. You hear about how tiny villages have "Ventures" bands, we know about eleki, Surf Coasters, and from what I hear it's a great place to tour playing surf music -- with all that in mind there must be more than the likes of The El Caminos, The Royal Fingers, Mach Kung Fu,'s, Toni OK, Rat Holic, The Routes, Lulufin the Woohoo and Switch Trout. After all, those bands are all REALLY GOOD. Where are the mediocre Japanese surf bands?

That question will have to remain unanswered for now, as this record suggests that Fuzziyama Surfers are another REALLY GOOD Japanese surf band.

Despite being around for a little while (at least five years), as far as I can tell this is their first record, with everything up to this point being videos of rehearsals and live performances shared on social media. For first-timers in the studio, they sure seemed to get it right. I don't think they would be mistaken for a 60's recording, but they certainly evoke it, recording in mono and with maybe a touch of lo-fi distortion, tastefully done to give it some edge while not going fully trashy. To use Japanese reference here, I think they sound sharp and muscular like The Royal Fingers, but with some of the reverb and body of The El Caminos. And despite the name, you won't hear much Davie Allan in here.

Sound may be key in surf, and in my opinion they've got a bullseye there, but they also do a pretty tremendous job in putting it to use. They can hit about as hard as any band with a traditional sound, with some really mean guitar on "Fuzziyama Wave" and "R 42", though you also have to hand it to the drummer on "Facing the Wave". But I also really love their dance tracks like "Manzai Stomp" and "Nantoka Beach", which still pack a punch -- gotta love the keyboard in "Nantoka Beach as well". Generally I think they're more of a surf band than an eleki group, but you can hear them flex that side on "Wild Echizen", which is a great track. "My Wave" is a big standout to me, an energetic track but with a slightly enigmatic mood -- exciting but also foreboding.

This is the good stuff, folks, it's what we're here for. I actually went in buying this somewhat blindly, hearing only a track on the Continental Magazine CD, and this record is pretty much what I hope a surf record will be when I listen for the first time. We may only get an occasional Japanese release peeking out into the global surf world, but if this is what we're getting we need more of it!

Available digitally on bandcamp, but also CD and vinyl through Otitis Media Recordings's website. My record was a split red and yellow that looks amazing, and has on OBI strip as well as a big blurb on the back in Japanese, making me feel awful about forgetting all the Japanese I learned in college.


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