In fact, Suddenly leads off with Love front man Arthur Lee's frenzied "A House Is Not a Hotel," an apocalyptic love song that calls paranoid attention to the color of bathwater, among other omens. It's a brilliant start, with Hanifi belting out the half-crazed lyrics and the band at full tilt. But four songs later, Love's haunting "Alone Again Or" is slowed from a defiant love-power anthem into something closer to a jazzy Spanish ballad. It's one of several tunes that sacrifice some of FUBAR's potent spontaneity for studio polish.
Throughout this highly listenable CD, production values are impeccable, and it's obvious the group labored long and hard to get everything right. That couldn't have been easy, given that band members have other gigs both workaday and musical (Tessier with George Bedard and the Kingpins, notably), and FUBAR is truly a labor of love.
Fortunately, Hanifi's sassy, sour-sweet voice is front and center, not always the case in live performances in cramped venues. With the surging power of bassist Oni Werth's licks, the honky-tonk hijinks of Adamson's keyboards, the brassy calls of Dave Cavender's trumpet, and the driving beat of Jim Carey's drums — not to mention Tessier's wild-man guitar solos — FUBAR is a group that needs room to roam.