Foxy Shazam means cool. I mean that figuratively and literally; vocalist Eric Sean Nally’s high school cronies used “foxy shazam” to describe things that are cool, which is where the name came from. And figuratively, everything about Foxy Shazam is just cool. The prog-rockers from Cincinnati have always been doing their own thing, repeatedly resulting in epic and unique works of art. The Church of Rock and Roll is their fourth studio album, following their self-titled first release on a major label, which charted at #151 in the US.
The only way to describe The Church of Rock and Roll is as the rebirth and well-deserved resurgence of rock and roll thanks to this soul-influenced progressive rock masterpiece. While many may prefer the self-titled, this album resonates with me equally if not more so than Foxy Shazam. Utilizing strong vocals, squealing electric guitars, and sing-along choruses, this band and album does successfully what The Darkness attempted: bring back old-school rock and roll in all of its theatrical glory. This is truly glam-rock at its finest.
Album opener “Welcome to the Church of Rock and Roll” is the perfect summation of the album: hard rock, theatrics, cacophonous instrumentation, and Freddie-Mercury-esque vocals. We have been welcomed, and we may never leave.
Songs like “Holy Touch,” preaching to “heal me with your holy touch” stay true to the church part of the title, but the entire album serves as a tool for converting nonbelievers into rock-and-roll diehards. “The Temple” also keeps with the religious theme, and employs clever and modern lyricism to keep listeners on their toes.
“Forever Together” reminds me of a combination of Portugal. The Man and The Format mixed with a unique spoken-word vocal style. “(It’s) Too Late Baby” is poignantly memorable and sounds right out of a “Best Of” classic rock compilation. “Wasted Feelings” brings the funk in a soulful spin on the rock sound, with opening vocals reminiscent of old school Prince.
Many tracks on this album are instant classics, greatly coming from the fact that they are so rooted in classic rock. With songs sounding as if they could be straight out of a Guitar Hero playlist or a Best of Queen record, each track manages to improve upon the last. I find myself converted with this record my Bible, Nally my pastor, and the collection of songs my cathedral. Rock and roll is back, with Foxy Shazam converting one follower at a time.
FFO: Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, Venetia Fair, Bad Rabbits, fun., A Lot Like Birds, Bruce Springsteen, Queen, Portugal. The Man, The Darkness, The Format