Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Review: Foxy Shazam - The Church of Rock and Roll

 A church of rock and roll is something I could totally get behind. Rarely a moment goes by when I'm not worshiping it's incredible legacy and sheer simplicity and brilliance. And with their overwhelming bursts of positivity and mass influence from the big hitters of 1970's rock, mostly Queen and Meat Loaf, Cincinnati's Foxy Shazam are ideal candidates to lead this religious revolution. I've heard nothing but positive things about the group so far. A friend of mine (Euan) told me about how awesome he found their onstage performance to be when they opened up for The Darkness last year. (By the way, The Darkness released a new song just today Nothing's Gonna Stop Us. I recommend checking it out. It's crazy good, with a video to match.) So, with the determination to create a new religion and with Justin Hawkins by their side this time as a producer, Foxy Shazam are ready to convert us to The Church of Rock and Roll.

 And this album, is going to preach to us with it's considerable influence from the 70's and 80's up to a maximum level in it's coolest form. The album catches all classic hard rock cliches in glorious and powerful form. There are lots of classy and soulful moments to be found across this album such as in the swinging and flamboyant I Like It filled with the swinging rhythms and bouncy hooks of Aerosmith and in Wasted Feelings, a song which contains a constant contrasting nature with the slick blues rock verses that brings the work of The Black Keys to mind, which during choruses exchanges this subtlety for some grand hard rock played with the theatrical dramatic soundscape that could be easily mistaken for the songwriting of Jim Steinman.
 With the powerful vocal performance of Eric Nally that carries a constant similarity to the magnificent vocals of Freddie Mercury present throughout the album, this sense of grandness is ever present, so it brings a touch of glamour to even the roughest moments of the album, such as the Led Zeppelin-esque The Temple with Loren Turner's guitar skills carrying the bluesy swagger of Jimmy Page. Even when this glamorous hard rock touch is less present, there are tracks like the soothing Forever Together a beautiful acoustic-lead which carries much more of an emotional touch and the soulful ballad Freedom.
 So, this album is essentially paradise for lovers of classic swaggering and soulful rock and roll that has no nonsense and plenty of soul. As well as revealing the powerful performance from all of Foxy Shazam, it also reveals just how talented and slick a producer Justin Hawkins can be, which I'll admit, I wasn't expecting. This album is in fact a very beautiful display of rock and roll that carries a lot of power and heart and if it's a new religion they're looking to start, well, preach away Reverend Nally.

 Foxy Shazam's The Church of Rock and Roll is out now via I.R.S. Records.

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