Foxy Shazam

Introducing Foxy Shazam

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Introducing Foxy Shazam, which is actually the second album by this Cincinnati quintet (the first having apparently failed to "introduce" them as hoped), opens with striped-on crowd noises and a parody of Ed Sullivan's famous "he's a good boy" speech, which preceded Elvis Presley's national television debut and rock & roll's launch towards world domination. So to say that Foxy Shazam are suggesting that a similarly revolutionary event is nigh with the release of this album is certainly a tempting, but not entirely fair proposition -- no matter how carefully contrived their self-mythologizing imagery may be. Rather, Foxy Shazam are simply doing their very best to escape the dying clutches of the emo/screamo scene all around them, and -- within such more realistic parameters -- they actually put their money where their haircuts are and, well, succeed! As shown by euphoric highlights such as "The Rocketeer," the organ-fueled "The Science of Love," and the especially bombastic "Red Cape Diver," theirs is an audacious, courageous, and outrageous brand of Baroque hardcore pop music that sees all five members attacking each song's performance with stirring élan and conviction, effectively exposing Panic! At the Disco for the posers they are, while challenging the Dresden Dolls where truly unhinged, freaky-deaky glam gothic intensity is concerned. The latter comparison is made all the more pertinent by Foxy Shazam's piano-playing secret weapon, one Sky Vaughn White (the post-emo Elton John, perhaps?), without whose deft-fingered melodies and dramatic flourishes their music would -- in the words of Spinal Tap -- "understate the hugeness of the object," and provide far less separation from the emo generation they are trying to outpace and outlast. Add to this the visual focal point provided by unapologetically campy singer Eric Sean Nally (whose dirty/clean vocal talents are varied enough to keep things ever interesting, while never resorting to screamo-style mewling), Foxy Shazam seem to pack more charisma and pure entertainment value (even dare we say, star power) than the rare generational peers who might challenge their brazen inventiveness (like the very talented, but star-deprived, Say Anything, for example). So if Foxy Shazam are able to replicate the energy and promise heard on Introducing on-stage night after night, they may be onto something here.

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