Album review: "The Church of Rock and Roll"
By Mark Jenkins
Friday, Feb. 3, 2012
What's the difference between "The Church of Rock and Roll" and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Both are stuffed with pop-music relics, but to judge from Foxy Shazam's fourth album, the "church" is the livelier place. In fact, the Ohio sextet's music is so frisky that its mustiness almost doesn't register.
Unabashedly reviving Britain's mid-1970s vogue for fusing rock and soul, Foxy Shazam performs punchy (and mostly silly) songs driven by strutting drums, honky-tonk piano, Memphis-style horns and gospel-style choruses. There's nothing churchy about the band's lyrics, which extol love, fun and freedom. But tunes such as "Holy Touch," which recycle soul-music cliches about sex's healing power, pack enough fervor to shake a storefront tabernacle.
Lead singer Eric Sean Nally employs one of those dog-whistle falsettos that suits either glam or metal. The band shifts toward the latter for "The Temple, and fortifies most of its songs with arena-rock guitar. Yet Foxy Shazam has too much life force to join the death-metal ranks. One of this album's most metallic numbers, "I Like It," worships not the devil but "your hips and thighs." It's a timeless sentiment, dressed in classic-rock ready-to-wear.