[Jan. 24, 2012 – EMI/I.R.S. // Find it at: iTunes]
In this world full of stereotypical twists and turns, Foxy Shazam’s fourth record, The Church Of Rock And Roll, is a bombastic outburst that doesn’t have the ability to lose its flavor. And that tingling spark for taste is the disc’s super power. The band is still touching the corners of grandiose pop rock where voices like Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson left lovers to weep, and spitfire vocalist Eric Sean Nally continues to be a speeding bullet of character with no fear of coming to a halt. It’s just now their surroundings have changed. The stage is bigger. The lights are brighter. The fans – who cluster next to each other in the hundreds while disregarding claustrophobia – now have expectations. But Foxy Shazam aren’t intimidated and it’s a feeling they don’t associate with being human as Nally opens the record with “You’re all suckers, a flock of sheep / I’ll be your shepherd, follow me”. The result is an adjective modern civilization uses to describe 1987 John Stamos – breathtaking.
The Church Of Rock And Roll may not be a disciple from the group’s major label debut Foxy Shazam, but in more ways than one it’s a younger reincarnation. Where melodies are supposed to be light and airy, they hold more tenderness (“Forever Together”). When the volume is supposed to be turned up, a number’s presence is illuminated. Every guitar lick explodes with each strum and Nally’s words – of finding romance for the last time (“Last Chance At Love”) or submitting to the figment of beauty (“I Wanna Be Yours”) – fall into the arms of Foxy Shazam’s skill to make classic rock shimmer and pop with smooth-tongued swagger and ferocious urgency. The group’s past material was a flux of blues, gospel and glam rock; it swayed and strutted, inducing hip thrusts and taking down phone digits while conjuring an image of a six-piece tribute to Queen trying to make it out of Cincinnati.
The new recordings now hold an immeasurable amount of integrity. The first single , “I Like It”, is a garage funk piece mirroring a new age Elvis Presley gyrating in the indie scene, not in front of a late-night audience. It’s bold as it is provocative, a trait that’s instilled in every choir outcry (“Holy Touch”), bass slap and reverberating wail (“The Streets”) the album throws out into the open. There are moments of digression and well-fitted ensembles that need a pause, but the attraction to not being a music staple and to just be authentic is what makes this band. Others try and try again to write in the form of their idols to reinvent a culture in hopes of building another platform in their career while Nally and co. embed the talent they have into the recordings they want to create and establish a sound that’s almost too big for one listener. The crowd’s cheering uncontrollably, but in reality, the show’s just started.
Download: “Wasted Feelings”, “Last Chance At Love”, “I Like It”, “The Streets”
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