Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Absolutepunk reviews Foxy Shazam's "Introducing!"

huge thanks to Blake Solomon and the entire Absolutepunk staff!

Foxy Shazam – Introducing
Record Label: New Weathermen / Ferret Records
Release Date: January 22, 2008

Upon first receiving Introducing, I felt compelled to write a review immediately. Mind you, this was way back in November. My life coach thought it would be a good idea to wait a few months, so as to ensure people wouldn’t be forgetting about this record when the time came to open their duct tape wallets and buy this little gem. And since she’s more like a life dictator, I obliged. (Ms. Kathleen, you better hope this works!)

Just one time I would like to turn the review format on its head and ask you all what you want to read about. I want to do this for two reasons: 1.) It makes my job way easier and B.) It makes my job way easier. No takers? Alright, I’ll give it a shot: I don’t think I’ve ever paid much attention to which label releases what album, but Ferret seems to have certain expectations from the everyday-underground-leather-clad youth. I mean, come on, their logo is a gun! As if their roster didn’t pigeonhole them enough. But don’t expect another metal/gut-punching/but still cute-clone band. Foxy Shazam frontman (Foxyman™) Eric Nally leads the group like a crazed ringmaster (now without the cabbage smell!). His voice is grating, convincing and melodic. He’s a star in the making. As he counts the group down on “Rocketeer,” try to keep quiet. You’ll be screaming “Blast Off!” at the top of your lungs every time. However, my favorite dimension of Foxy Shazam comes in the form of Sky White’s piano playing. He channels burlesque shows of old, even when a stomping breakdown is taking place in “Ghost Animals.” The end of “Ghost Animals” is pure joy. It's only January, but I already know it will stand as one of my favorite musical moments of 2008. “Red Cape Diver” finds White canoodling like a jazz prodigy, even as Nally is crazily spewing lines like, “I don’t wanna die!” The styles of each member seems to always find a cozy nook and/or cranny to reside.

I’ve seen a lot of musical theater (Starlight Express: how do you do it?). But I need to see Introducing up on the stage. “The Science Of Love” would be the first full-cast number. Playful keyboards and an odd chorus with ghastly wailing needs the Broadway Treatment. Guitarist Loren Turner doesn’t slack one bit, either. He goes retro (“Cool”); he goes heavy (“Its Hair Smelled Like Bonfire”); he goes mathy (“Ghost Animals”). And all the while, as genres are discarded like last week's T-Pain song, Foxy Shazam keep things cohesive. The ride is a whirlwind, but not like a tornado, more like this ride at the State Fair. You’re always tethered and you’re always ready for another go-round.

It’s quite simple, really. There isn’t a bad song on Introducing. And you don’t have to be crazed or afraid of hardcore (Scary!) like me to enjoy this. Heck, you could even put As Tall As Lions on your “Favorite Artists” list and dig Foxy Shazam. But be prepared to take some shots for it, pussy. Nobody listened to piano-punk and got away with it! Use Foxy as a springboard, though, and find yourself some full, bustling, hard-as-diamonds music. And please, don’t forget to tip your usher.

Recommended If You Like: Gogel Bordello wearing Dunks, The Blood Brothers dressed as pirates, smelly cheese, Man Man with a chip on their shoulder, smelly cheese