After bursting onto the national scene with Introducing…, Foxy Shazam quickly cemented themselves as one of the must-see, yet entirely confusing, young rock act in America. Lead by the charismatic Eric Sean Nally, this Ohio based sextet are about to set the rock world on fire with the release of their third full length on April 12th. Mixing the epic songwriting and vocal style of Freddie Mercury & Queen with the ADD of any child of the millennium, Foxy Shazam will surely be THE rock record to beat in 2010.
Starting the record stronger than any band since Fun., Foxy Shazam welcome you with the live show ready “Bombs Away.” Nally announces “There sure are a lot of dogs out this evening, perhaps they can assist me in a song” before a choir chanting like dogs comes in with Nally overtop moments before the entire band enters in such grandiose fashion that even Tim Burton would be wowed. What follows is an ever-enticing display of sheer rock genius that honestly sounds pulled from Freddie Mercury’s brain stem. One can almost see the Queen front man working the band like marionettes throughout the record as Foxy maintains his truly gallivanting stature. “Wanna be Angel,” the second track, offers our first real marketable track on the album, but doesn’t do this at the cost of any ounce of talent or intricacy. If you, or anyone you know, can resist chanting along to the cow bell lead bridge, you may want to check your, or your friend’s, pulse. This is high energy, instrumentation driven, catchy rock at its finest and other early tracks like “Count Me Out,” the second single “Unstoppable,” and “Oh Lord” only cement this fact and coat it in solid gold. Even with all this excitement early on, it’s the piano driven, “Bye Bye Symphony” that steals the show. Built around the line, “life is a bitch, but she’s totally doable,” the track walks the delicate line between masterpiece power ballad and utterly ridiculous dribble with Da Vinci’s skill and the results are huge.
One problem that many of these experimental rock acts face is the ability to keep things interesting over the course of an entire record. This is absolutely NOT the case here. The second half is, at least, on par with the initial songs on Shazam. “Only Way to My Heart” sounds pulled from the seediest jazz bar in bootleg era New Orleans while “Killin It” feels pulled from the Bat Out of Hell files. Yes, Foxy truly outdoes themselves in the sheer expanse of genres covered on this record, but its the relatively straight forward closer “Evil Thoughts” that puts a cherry upon this release. It’s a revealing and heart wrenching ballad that culminates in a gigantic bridge/finale that you’ll be calling people to talk about.
On their self titled release, Foxy Shazam not only separate themselves from the faceless masses of rock in terms of sound, but also skill. What we have here is one of the most intricate and consuming efforts of rock and roll I’ve seen in the last 5 years. It’s gigantic, yet simple at its core and that’s what makes it work so well. Everyone can relate to the stories being told, but no one can tell them quite the way Foxy Shazam does and I think it’ll be quite some time before we even have a contender.
Don’t sleep on this, you’ll regret it.
Review written by: James Shotwell