Dude. What the hell is going on in Bozeman? Every time I hear about a new band from Bozeman, it turns out that they are a secret diamond in the roughage of Montana’s occasionally rocky rock scene. A few months ago, I found out about Jetstream Cowboy and their Sonic Youth-style melodic dissonance found a little niche in at least one of my heart’s cockles. Now here comes Green Fuse, another Bozeman band gearing up for its Missoula debut.
First of all, don’t be thrown by the name. When I thought Green Fuse, I thought “crappy, stupid punk rock.” Which, by the way, there is a place and time for. But that is not Green Fuse. They call themselves “folk fusion,” but that doesn’t really tell you much, so let me give you the skinny: They’ve got two acoustic guitars, a bass, “regular” drums and bongo drums, an occasional splash of harmonica and some thoroughly fluid and energetic piano playing. You do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around and it’s all about mellifluous pop songs with an inviting back-porch feel. Green Fuse is kind of like Ben Folds Five’s rowdy cousins who prefer gritty rock and roll to contemplative ballads. The piano is played less painstakingly—or, at least, it comes off as more natural. Yet, while the fare is folky, twisting pop, just when you think you’ve figured Green Fuse out, they’ll break out a traditional dirty rag like “Crawdad.” It works for these guys and it’ll make you want to dance and possibly to hum some variation of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” with your own nonsense lyrics, assuming you’re infected by the freestyle vocal ramblings of singer Ditch Le Roi.
What’s great about Green Fuse is that their sound is wholly naked. Each acoustic guitar slide solo, each piano excursion and each of the singers’ voices (four out of five Fusers sing) is putting it out there for the taking. No one’s hiding behind the “strong member” of the band here, and this equates to a group dynamic and comfort level that most of us might relate to the way in which we instantly reconnect with our oldest and closest friends.
As luck would have it, these guys are old friends. They first started playing together back in their high school days in the land of Dunkin’ Donuts and the eternally hopeful Red Sox fan who refuses to pronounce the last letter in Nomar Garciaparra’s first name (that’s New England, for those of you who are lost right now). After years apart (we’re talking Hawaii-to-Antarctica apart), they regrouped to form what we now call Green Fuse in Bozeman.
And the regrouping is a success, because you can tell that Green Fuse is having fun. Granted, I’m working off of a mere six-song demo, so everything I am writing could be a gross misrepresentation, but from these six songs it seems to me that these high school buddies have figured something out that incorporates—and goes well beyond—making good music.
Green Fuse plays at the Top Hat at 10 p.m. on Sat., March 8. Cover TBA.