Review Summary: "The Church of Rock and Roll" is yet another shockingly enjoyable record from a band whose evolution has been as perplexing as it is brilliant.
On the few occasions I talk with my mother about her music-classic rock with intermittent “prog” - I notice her absolute admiration of the bands in question; a fervent enjoyment and wide-eyed wonderment not often seen in today’s youth. She speaks of moments that captivate and entrance, while I pick apart pieces in an almost methodical fashion. It’s hard to escape doing so when music nowadays is so easy to come by, and effectively less exciting than it was when genres like rock were still in their infancy. But when listening to Foxy Shazam, it’s easy to feel that very same excitement and unbridled enjoyment, as the band is the epitome of how modern rock can be relevant, even at its most ridiculous.
Foxy Shazam started as something decidedly different, but since their post-hardcore days the band has evolved into an institution much more akin to groups such as Queen and Led Zepplin, which is especially evident on their latest release, The Church of Rock and Roll
. The name is fitting, really, as the album stands as worship to the genre; its past and present are gloriously represented the only way the band knows how. Classic anthemic rock pieces that many music lovers know by heart can be felt in many of the band’s songs, but Foxy Shazam tend to add their own flavor and personality. Derivative as it all may sound the end result is surprisingly fresh, with the mixture of classic and modern rock feeling wholly unique. Sure Eric Nally still idolizes the late Freddie Mercury to a preposterous degree, but it’s his vocal delivery that gives The Church of Rock and Roll
the very character that oozes from every pore. Soft and loud, high and low, Nally’s performance is something to be greatly admired, and his willingness to play around with all sorts of styles makes for some startlingly entertaining moments.
Yet the crux of The Church of Rock and Roll
comes in the form of the delightfully varied track list. Throughout the album’s eleven tracks, poppy songs are sandwiched between hard-rock tunes and heartfelt power ballads, with the album always throwing out surprises. Foxy Shazam rarely rest on their laurels with moodier tunes like “The Temple” mixing up the generally upbeat tone of the record. But it’s the bigger, more grandiose pieces that captivate more than the rest. With his typical flamboyant gravitas, Nally sings profoundly in the stadium style “Last Chance at Love” and “Freedom,” which are even more impressive with the aid of some skilled instrumental work. Groovy guitar, catchy percussion, and blaring horns give each piece a great musical back bone that makes the solid songwriting feel even more meaty. Not to be too outdone, however, are “The Streets” and “Wasted Feelings,” infectious songs which add trumpet and soul to the mix. There’s just so much going on within the glitzy confines of The Church of Rock and Roll
that there is just about something for everyone.
The Church of Rock and Roll
is yet another shockingly enjoyable record from a band whose evolution has been as perplexing as it is brilliant. This is exactly what a modern rock record should be: expressive, energetic, and above all else, entertaining.