The Stooges: Iggy Pop (vocals); Ron Asheton (guitar); Dave Alexander (bass instrument); Scott Asheton (drums).
Additional personnel: Steve MacKay (tenor saxophone).
FUN HOUSE sounds like an extended, guttural war cry from deep within the psyche. While the Stooges' excellent debut, produced by John Cale, had a clean, punchy sound that introduced the band's ragged, stripped-down rock, it did not capture the chaotic fury of the band's live spirit. The Stooges hired Don Gallucci (formerly of the Kingsmen) to produce FUN HOUSE, and he gave the album a murky, swampy ambience that lacks clarity and precision, yet compensates for that lack tenfold with immediacy and a staggering sonic punch in the gut. And where THE STOOGES can sound like bratty teenaged music, this album sounds grown up, menacing, mercurial, dark, and relentlessly primal.
The muddied production may add to the primitivism, but it is the band that truly conjures the magic. The Stooges plays like unleashed banshees here: Ron Ashton's razory guitar riffs and swirling squall create clouds of noise while the brutal rhythms of bassist Dave Alexander and drummer Scott Ashton crash all over the place. Iggy Pop screams and howls like a man possessed, giving voice to a spirit that would find its final expression in the punk movement seven years later. From the panther-like strut of "Down on the Street" to the adrenaline-driven "TV Eye" through the caustic dirge of "Dirt" to the avant squall of "L.A. Blues" (complete with wailing air-raid saxophone from Steve MacKay), this set is one of the founding documents of alternative rock. And, like Pandora's box, once FUN HOUSE is opened there is no turning back.
Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.136) - Ranked #191 in Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time"
Rolling Stone (10/29/70, p.44) - "...They are so exquisitely horrible and down and out that they are the ultimate psychedelic rock band in 1970..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.66) - "[O]ne of the dirtiest, grimiest, and most sweat-stained albums ever. It's hard to appreciate just how radical this record was upon it's release..." -- Grade: A+
Q (7/01, p.91) - Included in Q's "50 Heaviest Albums of All Time" - "...Everything rock'n'roll is meant to be: horny, sleazy, obnoxious and scarily alive, lik ebein gwired straight into the mains..."
Q (1/94, p.119) - 4 Stars - Excellent
Uncut (p.120) - 5 stars out of 5 - "FUN HOUSE the album and 'Funhouse' the song turn '60s dreams of unity and pleasure-as-insurrection inside out..."
Melody Maker (2/19/94, p.34) - "...FUNHOUSE is, no contest, the greatest rock n' roll album of all time....The Stooges don't merit your respect as a monument in our collective heritage, they warrant full immersion...."
Kerrang (Magazine) (p.51) - "[FUNHOUSE] captured the group at their most thrillingly unhinged....[A] dark paean to heedless hedonism..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.114) - 5 stars out of 5 - "[T]he Stooge machine was savagely tuned, rampaging, able to precision-blast numerous near-identical takes."
NME (Magazine) (9/18/93, p.19) - Ranked #48 in NME's list of `The Greatest Albums Of The '70s.'
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