The world needs more bands like Foxy Shazam. With their unique blend of charisma and theatrics in their music, there isn’t a single uninteresting moment on their latest LP called Burn. The band has always had a flair for the theatrical and glam elements of the 70’s rock era, but they really go for their full-fledged modern take on that era of music with their latest album. With some songs teetering on the edge of Queen, to David Bowie, and Led Zeppelin all thrown into the mix, the band is more than capable of creating a record that pays direct homage to past artists, while still making the end result feel fresh for newer audiences. Their eccentric front-man Eric Nally took the majority of the songwriting and vocal duties on the album, but there is plenty of new elements to Foxy Shazam’s evolution as an artist. The album was recorded remotely with members of the band working in three different studios, yet the end product feels as cohesive as if the band were in the same room creating this music simultaneously.
The record blasts off with the title track and Foxy Shazam wastes little time taking back their listening audience’s attention after a six-year hiatus. The track features some well-placed piano and horns that bleed away for the guitars to take their rightful place at the front and center of the rock band’s approach. The track is reminiscent of The Struts modern take on glam rock, but it also incorporates some well-placed sing a longs in the style of melodic emo bands. The hook is absolutely massive on “Burn” and gets the record started on the right foot.
One of the first videos released from the album comes in the form of the second track, “Dreamer.” The song, much like the opener, begins over a piano as front-man Eric Nally commands the song from the very first lyric. His impressive vocal range is showcased early on as he wails, “If this is just a dream, I don’t wanna wake up.” The band continues to expand their usual theatrical elements on “Dreamscape 2020” as pianist Sky White outlines a perfect composition for Nally to sing over. Drummer Teddy Aitkins is one of the underrated players on this track, as his pulsating beats really shine all over the recording.
Things take a turn towards the hip-hop genre on the middle section of the record with songs like “Never Ever” and “Into the Wild.” Drummer/percussionist Aitkins lends his vocals to these tracks to make for an interesting listening experience. On “Never Ever,” it’s almost as if Foxy Shazam were trying to mash up a trippy Beatles’ vibe from the Sgt. Peppers’ era with some modern rap flair. Some of the rap/hip-hop elements are more fleshed out on “Into the Wild” that builds the song around some fuzzy guitar looped samples and repetitious lyrics. The tracks kind of come out of left field, and makes for a slightly awkward transition back into the glam rock elements introduced earlier.
Foxy Shazam gets right back on the 70’s rock horse with the bouncy “S.Y.A.A.F.” that stands for “Say You Are A Friend.” The well-placed horns throughout the track make for a solid approach of trying out new elements in their songwriting. Some of these thoughts work better on the breezy track, “In My Mind,” where the band fully realize their creative potential with an ear-pleasing blend of funk, disco, and good ol’ fashioned rock n’ roll. The spiraling guitar riff in the song makes for a great funk-infused that seems poised for a crossover smash if they ever chose to release it as a radio single. It ended up being one of my favorite moments on the album that was in need of getting back on track from the brief hip-hop stint that breaks up the flow of the other music.
The one-two closing punch of “Suffering” and “The Rose” round out the latest chapter of Foxy Shazam’s comeback attempt, with mostly positive results. The near Daft Punk-esque closing track, “The Rose” only further solidifies the range of stylistic choices that the band made on this record, and there really is plenty for everyone to enjoy on the album that encourages repeat spins and rewards the listener for deeper dives into the influences found all over the LP. I found this album to be just as enjoyable as their landmark The Church of Rock and Roll 2012 album, but Burn has more personality to it that will make it stand apart in the great return of these talented rockers.