Originally claiming as The Psychedelic Stooges, The Detroit native band used an industrial front of blazing hammer and anvil tactics that translated into the battle cry for their work. With Fun House, the hammer and anvil acts as a blindsiding nature where at the forefront of the record stands Iggy Pop on the vocals who commands all eyes on him. The remaining Stooges are the anvil in which they begin to crush up toward the audience and close them in, with constraint that is overbearing and deadly at times.
The iconic lineup of Ron Asheton on guitar with backing from Dave Alexander on bass holds pressure against Scott Asheton on the percussion. There is also a new addition to the group with Steve Mackay on the saxophone, providing harsh wails on the self-titled track “Fun House,” “L.A. Blues,” and “1970.” While a short introduction to Mackay can be heard on only three of the seven total tracks, his abrasiveness is a clashing force and can stand toe-to-toe with the band.
Opening Fun House with “Down On The Street” which has this crawling crunch of hood rat backbone and personality with raging amplifiers and a screeching Pop that delivers a strong first handshake. The Stooges are essentially at the midpoint between their trilogy of underappreciated but highly respected records. Their first debut simply titled The Stooges and Raw Power are bookends between Fun House, a record that exists in the most organized chaos possible.
The rambunctiousness and hellish apparitional power that The Stooges hold in just a short career of only a few years is a powerhouse of collective grinding and corroding noise. Every second spent on Fun House is dedicated to creating movement with tracks like “Loose,” “T.V. Eye,” or even “L.A. Blues” which is a shattered glass house of blitzing racket and commotion that pounds for nearly five-minutes of death march toward the end. Only in the silence that follows do The Stooges seem to be completely calmed and no longer a lit kerosene drum in a firework factory.
But it is not always all about the sweet release of power, sometimes with the track “Dirt,” the tension is a building one and acts as an animal more based on lurking and stalking rather than sharpened pouncing. The string work by both Asheton and Alexander here is immaculate and some of the most prolific style that comes from a Stooges record. As they dig into the fretboard to scrape out these otherworldly notes, the talent is showcased even if it takes a mountain of men to uncover it.
When Fun House’s hourglass overturns and the time turns to grains of sand, The Stooges capture the velvet curtain and distress of the youth in the same time that The Beatles were on the charts. It may have never gained golden plaques for the wall, but the influence means more anyway.