The Epoxies (Fat Wreck Chords)
~review by Uncle Nemesis
I'm sure denizens of the Portland, Orgegon noo-wave scene will be excaiming about now, 'Hey, what took you so long?' And they'd be right to do so. Because this release dates back to 2002, when The Epoxies, gloriously effervescent trash-punk talents from the Portland underground, originally put out this, their debut album, on the local Dirtnap Records label. Later, Fat Wreck Chords of San Fransisco picked up on the product - and it's finally made its way to Europe, courtesy of Fat Wreck's German operation, so us benighted old-worlders can belatedly pour it into our ears.
And it's a treat. The Epoxies spew forth a bug-eyed sugar rush of frantic guitars and speedfreaking drums, shot through with great seams of fuzztone keyboards, and all glued to a gleeful trash aesthetic so brash and irreverent it makes The Rezillos look like Pink Floyd. The songs fizz like they've been carbonated, and rattle along like someone's welded the accelerator to the floor.
Vocalist Roxy Epoxy has a splendidly adenoidal foghorn of a voice, and leads every song from the front, the band snapping boisterously at her heels. She's especially effective on 'Need More Time', giving it some welly up front while the backing vocals teeter on the very brink of a yodel. 'We're So Small', an apocalyptic love song complete with distant nuclear thunder, allows the drummer to skip lightly over his snare, something he does with elaborately casual aplomb. The keyboards are a constant factor in every song, sometimes droning in chorus like someone's put the bagpipes of the Band Of The Black Watch through a Superfuzz Bigmuff, sometimes squawking and wailing like squeaky toys under a steamroller. It's a splendidly thrashy, trashy racket, but it's always under control. The Epoxies know exactly what they're doing: their songs might sound like day-glo splatters of sound, but everything in the mish-mash mix is placed with more precision than you might at first guess.
'You' is 59 seconds of manic freaking, while 'Stop Looking At Me' is a relative epic - at 4 minutes 2 seconds it's the longest song here, by The Epoxies' standards a virtual rock opera. It features a neat-o jump-cut chorus and more of that almost-yodelling. 'Molded Plastic' rumbles with some nice punker-bass (think of 'Love Song' by The Damned) as Roxy describes herself in terms that make her sound like a cyberpunk Barbie, and 'Please Please' is a true angst-pop anthem, a crossover hit in the making. You could imagine Kim Wilde taking this one into the charts back in nineteen-eighty-whatsit.
This album has froth and charm by the flourescent plastic bucketload. It's all artifice and contrivance and colourful punky fireworks, and you can dip in almost anywhere and find an instant new wave pop classic. The good news is that there's more where this lot came from - The Epoxies now have a second album on release in the USA, and I hope the good people at Fat Wreck Europe will see fit to hurl it in our direction before too long. A tour by the band would be a fine idea, too. It's high time we had the opportunity to splurge a bit of Epoxies adhesive on our hearts.
The Epoxies' website: http://www.theepoxies.com
Fat Wreck Chords Europe: http://www.fatwreck.de