Let me make something clear before I continue on with this review; I will be indirectly comparing Queen, who are one of the greatest bands of all time, to the Cincinnati sextet Foxy Shazam. Now, I am in no way saying that the two bands are equal to another: there is only one Queen after all. But Foxy Shazam’s new album, The Church of Rock and Roll, is their attempt to step into some of the biggest shoes of all time.
Produced by Justin Hawkins, lead singer of The Darkness, Foxy successfully moves away from their power-pop sound that they put out on their 2010 self titled album, and go for a more operatic rock sound. You know, like how Queen did it? The difference is there, but you can’t say that The Church of Rock and Roll is the closest thing to sound like Freddy Mercury and friends in years.
The Church of Rock and Roll starts off remarkably strong. The opening self-titled track is a great introduction to what the band is, and is a great seg-way into the album’s first single. “I Like It” is just as catchy as Justin Hawkins’ “I Believe In A Thing Called Love,” except it’s shorter, more straight forward, and a *bit* racy. “Last Chance At Love” is best described as a Rolling Stones song that Jagger never recorded (though he still probably could). The finale “Freedom” is an overwhelming rock ballad, bring all of the elements that make Foxy great into one last song. One problem with the album is the second half of it; the beginning was full of large moments that sounded fantastic, while the rest sounded like tracks that didn’t make it to their last album. Not saying that they are bad, but if I had to choose between the two genres, I’d prefer The Church over their self titled album.
For new listeners, the make-it-or-break-it thing of the album, and Foxy Shazam in general, is singer Eric Sean Nally. Nally’s voice, inflections, and mannerisms are what make Foxy Shazam…well…foxy (sort of speak). His range is all over the place; taking you to some normal, radio friendly tunes, to the awesome heights of glam rock’s past. His lyrics also takes you to some interesting places, like the chorus to “I Like It” (“That’s the biggest black ass I’ve ever seen/ And I Like It”) to the honest love letter to his child in “Forever Together.” If you don’t like the way he sings (you can click the video below to actually listen for yourself), then you would probably dislike this album, because a lot of it sounds like that. Any Foxy fan, there is nothing on this album that wouldn’t change your perceptions of Nally.
This is Foxy Shazam’s 4th album, and my personal favorite. Each album brought out a different style to the table, but I feel like Nally and Company can stay in this lane, and put out some truly awesome rock music. Sure, the second half of this album isn’t as epic as the beginning, and it is a little short, but that doesn’t mean that The Church of Rock and Roll is bad. In fact, it’s pretty good. Do they sound like Queen? Yes. However, I think Foxy Shazam does a way better Foxy Shazam.
Final Grade: B
Go Download: “I Like It”