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Album Review: Burn - Foxy Shazam

Photo Credit: Scott Beseler/Paul Coors

With 2020 throwing more uncertainty, turmoil, and calamities to fill an entire decade, it is a welcome respite to learn that Foxy Shazam were back after a six-year hiatus with a new album. Although Burn is a bit of a sonic departure from their previous albums, there are still a lot of epic, anthem-scaled tracks for fans to sink their teeth in.

Gone are the days of the one room, seldom overdubbed sound of the band’s previous release, the 2014 self-released Gonzo. Social distancing in this instance spanned hundreds of miles, as the band worked as duos and recorded remotely across the country. The result is a sometimes noticeably segmented collection, but the most polished recording they have had to date. Burn seems to signal a bit of a sea change, away from that comfortable rock nest they have built over their previous records, in favor of a more melody-based approach.

Foxy has made a reputation for their wild, operatic live shows, fueled by their enigmatic and hypnotizing lead singer, Eric Nally. Since the band’s hiatus, Nally has stayed busy with solo recordings, notably guesting on Mackelmore’s hit “Downtown” and touring in support. However, it’s clear that with Foxy he is truly able to let his freak rock flag fly. The band has put a hold on returning to the stage, including having to thrice cancel a much anticipated home show at the Taft Theater. Yet another casualty to add to the epitaph of 2020’s gravestone.

The classic rock bands that Foxy have often been compared to are still there: in “Dreamer” and “S.Y.A.A.F.” you can still hear the Queen and Aerosmith influences. The band is clearly doing their part to revitalize and keep the rock genre alive, even as Nally has started to cement himself as a power player in the pop music juggernaut. Although as pop songs they are more interesting than you typically find, “In My Mind” and “The Rose” would fit better on a Maroon 5 album than they would A Night at the Opera. That may just be the point - serving the song and perhaps leaving the past trappings behind.

“Suffering” is probably the most straightforward rock song, but also works the best and most cohesive. Nally seems to grab energy from the tightness of the band and propels it towards a conclusion. “Burn” is another highlight, with a fun riff (and is that whistling?) bleeding into an epic chorus that will make headbangers happy.

“Never Ever” and “Into The Wild” are interesting departures, but ultimately seem a little out of place on this record. I found myself wanting to go back to the fun sound of the rest of the album.

Although it’s a bit unexpected at times, Burn is an enjoyable pop rock romp, an impressive feat given the manner it came together. It’s hard to tell if this is a band that together is on the brink of wider appeal, or whether Nally is a wild comet, and we are all just lucky enough to catch a glimpse until it moves on to bigger expanses.

Go purchase Burn TODAY!