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November 2001

David Fiuczynski and Headless Torsos
Amandala
Fuzelicious Morsels

No screaming-at least of the vocal-chord-generated variety-on this one. The Screaming Headless Torsos have apparently been working with a new singer lately, but on Amandala, guitarist David Fiuczynski's long-standing band truncates its name and goes it without vocals. Due apparently to label disinterest, Amandala is the second album Fiuczynski released on his own label, FuzeLicious Morsels. (The first was last year's JazzPunk.)

Without a singer on hand, all the music is based squarely and almost wholly around Fiuczynski's prodigious technique and myriad of processed tones. He percolates, warbles, wails, melts and generates, in the end, some jaw-dropping moments. Amandala also offers extended exposure to Fiuczynski's expressive and often sensitive use of electronics and distortion, which he employs without fear. Unfortunately, Fiuczynski only seems interested in jamming out, and his flashy moments accumulate without really adding up to anything. A little in the way of harmonic or melodic meat could have really boosted this recording, but the rest of the headless don't seem particularly interested in challenging Fiuczynski. Bassist Fima Ephron, drummer Gene Lake and percussionist Daniel Sadownick offer little more than repetitive, rumbling and unobtrusively funky grooves for the guitarist to rifle through. As it stands, the tunes depend upon Fiuczynski to make something happen. Sheer bravado gets him through the title track and "Torsos Jungle," while metal-inflected fluff like "Fallout Shelter" falls flat.

Originally published in November 2001
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