BY JEREMY HAAS
Foxy Shazam is an American rock band hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio. The band started their musical career labeled as a “post-hardcore” group with their self-released debut album The Flamingo Trigger. Since then, they have changed a lot, but their strong sense of individuality has been a constant. Foxy has achieved a unique sound that is difficult to describe because it incorporates so many elements of rock music, but if it has to be put into words; Foxy Shazam is a power-charged cross between Queen and Ozzy Osborne, with a dash of angst and a heavy dose of soul. The group’s new album, The Church of Rock and Roll, shows off their strong musical talent, with a lingering taste of 80’s hair metal mixed in.
Right from the start, The Church of Rock and Roll shows Foxy Shazam’s flashy attitude. The song “Welcome to the Church of Rock and Roll” kicks off the album on a great note. The song is a nostalgic rock revival anthem about being better than everyone else, and maybe that’d seem cocky coming from other bands, but Foxy Shazam revels in confidence, a can-do attitude, and individuality. The band’s leader, Eric Nally, is a charismatic character that lives by his own rules and on this track he pulls arrogance off gracefully.
The first single off the album, “I Like it”, is another vigorous track, this one longer and raunchier than the last. With a hilariously inappropriate chorus, this song parodies the current state of music. The obvious sexual references show how simple minded some music-listeners are and how attracted they can be to vulgarity. The group makes this song an ode to dirty jokes and the 80’s theme of sex, drugs, and rock & roll. “I Like it” is so wrong but so right.
The Church of Rock and Roll may have loud, attitude filled tracks, but it also shares a slow and serious side. This is not a bad thing. With the softer ballads, Foxy Shazam gives the impression that, not only are they fun-loving dudes, but they also have problems just like everybody else. The song “Forever Together” is a perfect example of the album’s bittersweet feel. In it, Nally sings to his son, about his sorrow of going on tour and leaving a child without a father. Seeing Foxy Shazam be so realistic and emotional, well, it’s almost unnatural in comparison to the beginning of the CD, but that is exactly what is so great about the group.
In “It’s Too Late,” Nally sings a romantic love ballad, which may seem typical, but is again sprinkled with “Foxy Shazam-individuality”. With unique vocals and graceful lyrics, this song is an amazing composition. You can tell who these guys are from a mile away, and while they are influenced by many artists, they maintain a distinct sound that cannot be matched by any other band.
One thing that stands out, not only about The Church of Rock and Roll, but Foxy Shazam in general, is their musical ability. Any group of guys with distorted guitars can make fun music, but it takes true talent to incorporate some of the things Foxy does. From the band’s use of jazz piano to their heavy metal-trumpet solo on “The Streets”, Foxy conveys musical individuality in the most eloquent ways. The album moves all across the musical spectrum, from slow, tear drenched ballads, to catchy dance rhythms and old school hip hop sounds. Foxy Shazam pulls together influences as varied as Queen, Meatloaf, and on this new album especially, Black Sabbath, without losing their fun loving persona. Their range is incredible. The last track on the album, “Freedom”, showcases a southern rock sound you’d never expect to hear from a band who, several short years ago, were considered to be “post-hardcore.”
Foxy Shazam is a group who make music like no other, with wacky stage antics, fearless lyrics, musical complexity, and a hunger for attention. On The Church of Rock and Roll they bring it all together to give fans a religious listening experience.