Volume 93, Issue 10

Wednesday, September 15, 1999


West Side crackles with high energy

Royal Trux driven by independence

Ellis novel worth retrospect

Days, Moxy have big returns

Days, Moxy have big returns

Moxy Fruvous

Canada's own Moxy Fruvous is probably best remembered for quirky pop singles like "King of Spain" and "Stuck in the '90s." Their latest album, Thornhill, proves they're just as capable of writing lilting, moving, Beatles-esque ballads as they are of devising funny, smart-ass jingles.

Songs like "I Will Hold On" and "When She Talks" are compelling, thanks to the group's sweetness, sincerity and their knack for imaginative instrumental arrangements. The acoustic strumming on the latter track lends it a folky feel, but soon makes room for the growling of an electric guitar, which provides a rough-edged counterpoint and creates a mood which is solemn – not sappy or sentimental.

The vocals on Thornhill are also hard to resist. All four of the band members are gifted with strong voices and the group constructs beautiful, layered harmonies on several tracks. These vocals support the always smart and subtle words on both the poignant and irreverent songs.

The band's trademark lyrical cleverness is definitely at work again on Thornhill but Fruvous also gets downright earnest on this one, delivering a handful of soulful, moving love songs to accompany their usual goofing around.

Despite its strengths, the album also features some misguided musical moves. "Earthquake" is a notable example, with its perverted blues guitar riffs, pot and pans percussion and forgettable, throwaway lines. Tunes like "Downsizing" and "Hate Letter" are also left to meander, sluggishly.

This being said, it is still a good album and one which Fruvous and Canadian music fans can be proud of. As Thornhill proves, Fruvous is a pop outfit of rare musical intelligence.

–Michael Murphy

Days of the New
Outpost Recordings

Since achieving mainstream success with their debut album, Days of the New have undergone a few mild changes. Singer/song writer/guitarist Travis Meeks has fired his entire band and brought together an orchestra on this sophomore release. The results are incredible.

Although not a drastic departure from the last album, this release does carry the music even further. The addition of strings, wind instruments, a female singer and hints of electronica work with the derivative acoustic rock base to produce a solid effort.

While the album doesn't rock as hard as the previous disc, Meeks has created a musical experience containing much more depth. Using a sonic soundscape rarely heard in the rock genre, Meeks combines the traditional guitar/bass/drums with classical instruments. During "The Real," a chorus of violins subtly enters midway through the song, slowly building to a majestic crescendo.

In another break with tradition, 20 year-old Nicole Scherzinger has been added to lend vocal support. Meeks uses her as more than a back-up singer, allowing Scherzinger to complement his own vocals. The song "Flight Response" essentially becomes a duet, which adds nicely to the overall texture of the album.

The only weak links in the album are three instrumental numbers which don't live up to the standard set by the other songs. It is obvious that Meeks was going for a world-beat flavour which just didn't suit the rest of the disc. Despite these soft spots, Meeks has still set a high standard for any future musical endeavours.

–Terry Warne

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Copyright The Gazette 1999