“The Church of Rock and Roll” is the band’s fourth release, and it is (for the most part) an operatic, flamboyant, arena-decimating convulsion of rock theatrics. You know those nights when you’ve drank a few too many Jack & Cokes, you’re wearing the most circulation restricting pants you own, and you’re waiting for the DJ to call your name at the karaoke bar so you can plunge face first into crowd-stirring rendition of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”? This album is what you think you sound like, you tone deaf terror.
The previously mentioned lyric is from “I Like It,” which is a modern day “Fat Bottomed Girls” that you will feel guilty for listening to. It is a pounding showstopper dedicated to the posterior and would prompt Freddie Mercury to twirl his ‘stache in fatherly approval. The fact that the equally stadium-worthy title track leads into it seals the Queen influence tight; the fact that our heroes are touring with The Darkness is an “of course they are” moment.
“Holy Touch” is the soaring, glammed out standout song on the album, its tempo hopped up on amphetamines. The lyrics and singer Eric Sean Nally’s vocally gymnastic performance are cribbed straight from the rock opera playbook: “Heal me with your holy, kick/down the door and hold me/Heal me with you holy touch.” It’s not Shakespeare, but it’s almost Meat Loaf, and that’s better. “Last Chance at Love” could be a really good Pat Benatar song, rounding out one of the strongest opening acts to an album that I can think of.
But Foxy Shazam commits the cardinal sin of record production, which is a dragging snoozefest set of middle tracks. Luckily, “Church of Rock and Roll” picks up momentum again, even it never really recaptures the magic of the first four tracks. “The Temple” is all sexy stirring, while “The Streets” would not be out of place in a Pam Grier movie. “Freedom” ties a nice bow on the package, a musical truck stop that evokes the Americana-piano-ballad version of Lady Gaga, who in turn is also evoking Queen, to be fair.
It’s fortunate that Foxy Shazam (a name that also would not be out of place in a Pam Grier movie) live up to the tone of their own moniker. “Church of Rock and Roll” is fiercely dedicated to a certain ’70s-style glam rock/soul fusion sound that, on the whole, is not so much an homage as it is a sincere genre fusion. Shazam.
(1) “Welcome to the Church of Rock and Roll”
(2) “I Like It”
(3) “Holy Touch”
(4) “Last Chance At Love”