Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Review: Faux Fox - All That Remains

I’m going to start this review off by stating that I am a big fan of Faux Fox live. No matter how many times I have seen them over the last half-decade or so, and no matter what lineup I happen to be watching, a Faux Fox show has always been a dependably entertaining night out and about. There’s usually a decent sized crowd with some attractive people and someone you know in it, lead singer George Quartz will have assuredly put some time in to an “outfit” of some description (maybe thin moustache and a rayon shirt, maybe fringed suede boots and a ski jacket, and so on), and the band can always be counted on to give an edgy energetic performance that leaves you seriously wondering why they’ve never made much of a dent outside of their home turf.

With that being said, I’ve never had a great interest in listening to Faux Fox’ recorded work. Going back to their debut EP, 2004’s Black Glove Or White Glove, Faux Fox on record has been a rather sterile proposition almost completely devoid of what might be termed “Wow Factor.” Stripped of the charisma and charm that their onstage presence brings to the proceedings, their songs have generally come off as same-y and lackluster with the band’s obvious wit and emotion buried under icy drones of the C-grade Gary Numan variety. So, is All That Remains the album that turns it all around and finally captures the Faux Fox live lightning in a bottle that you can listen to in the shower? A little bit of “yes” and a whole lot of “no.”

With half of it’s eight tracks breaking the five minute mark, the album’s biggest problem reveals itself right out of the box with opening song, “Class Ring,” a fairly middling six minute track that could have been a great four minute song. Sure, those longish instrumental passages make for dynamic live moments when accompanied by Quartz’s dancing and crowd baiting, but on record they just stand as glaring lulls that had me reaching for the “Skip” button. It is a problem that crops up again and again on an album where good ideas are stretched beyond the limits of casual interest, allowing everything to sink into an easily ignored wall of background noise. Two saving graces do arrive as All That Remains enters it’s second half in the form of “Dirt City Rollers” and “Nothing Gold,” the former a muscular, hook-filled anthem that fully captures the visceral fun of Faux Fox in the flesh, and the latter a playfully brooding ode to lost glories whose dynamic sound fully justifies it’s six minute length (and whose motorcycle racing-themed video you should definitely check for on YouTube). These are followed by “Personal Best,” another gem of a song that has an odd hint of early Erasure-style melancholy until it disappointingly collapses under it’s own weight. Closer “Brass Ring” is the worst culprit in the “More Is Less” stakes, as it wanders through a repetitious eight and a half minutes of buried vocals and teases of heading somewhere epic until it abruptly cuts out and ends the album on it’s biggest “Huh” moment.

In the end, All That Remains may be Faux Fox’ most frustrating moment yet because there are flashes of how great they can be scattered throughout it’s forty-five minutes. You can see the traces of an amazing album in here, and I can’t help but think that with a bit of judicious fat trimming this just might have been their ticket out of The Golden Triangle. I’m sure it’ll all sound great at The Cavern, though. I’ll be there.

(2.5 out of 5)

13 Comments:

Anonymous atchley said...

i bet they're saving lots of money on gas by riding that motorcycle.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. you nailed it. great review. alot of truth in there. i think all this group needs is a really talented producer who can reign in the sound. it's disappointing to see this is the 3rd strike.

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

faux fox is really really great. they just need a really dirty nasty live recording...

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe.. just maybe,

NAUGHTY GIRLS NEED LOVE TOO!

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GOD DAMN IT! I told them that years ago--what wrong with them!?!?!?!?

12:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with this review. This is their 3rd great album and by far the best of the lot. I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

(and Black Glove or White Glove is an LP, not an EP)

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when and where can I get this record?good records had no information about it.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous stonedranger said...

I don't think the record is going to be released for another couple of weeks.

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this band blows

7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

but then again so do i because i've never even tried to do anything

1:25 AM  
Anonymous princemoney said...

or...maybe u have A.D.D.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous obama said...

this review is gay.i'm confused why a band needs to sound the same live as they do in the studio,especially these guys.you didn't really give very detailed reasons why you couldn't listen to it in the shower.isn't it hard to hear in there anyway?

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Ves Volf said...

To 7:31, You haven't even heard it so how can you agree? Besides they didn't say jack shit about the actual production.

To 12:10, Wow aren't you special! Good thing they didn't give a shit what you thought because then they would actually suck.

6:24 PM  

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