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.
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