To paraphrase the words of critic Lester Bangs, what made The Velvet Underground the greatest band in the world was the simple fact that they suggested that they weren’t. Over a few gleaming albums, they articulated grand artistic vision with unparalleled informality and looseness.
But really, by Bang’s logic at least, any band could meet this criterion for greatness. That is so long as the music is stripped back to its basics, injected with creative impulse and put across with an energy that makes it feel like it’s never been sung before (even if it has).
Enter the Foxy Morons. A collision the East Coast cynicism of The Velvets and a reverence for non-too-serious girl group verve, the Hobartians deliver inspired moments of jittery lo-fi pop. Their debut (and perhaps final) recording, the self-titled Foxy Morons cassette/EP, comes courtesy of Wrong Place (Right Time) Records.
For Foxy Morons, the strength of their dejected debut EP is matched only by its looming sense of potential finality.
Under The Sea puts things into motion with rumbling low-end bass and distant percussive thump while Ex turns navel-gazing introspection into something bittersweet and uplifting. The track touches on what is perhaps one of the definitive themes of the group’s recordings; at the edge of bleakness, there’s always something sugary sweet.
Every year the siren song of Melbourne emigration takes a serious toll on the creative communities of our nation’s smaller towns and cities. Mainland sees the five-piece laying down incisive guitar licks and droning keys while conveying a venomous takedown of the all too common phenomena. This said it may equally be satirical, coyly taking aim at the callousness of those who remain.
With a circular guitar motif akin to Dick Diver’s Water Damage and a vocal timbre which could sit easily beside Courtney Barnett’s, Ciggies delivers an anthemic chorus line to anyone who has quit smoking or given up trying.
“I only smoke ciggies when I’m drunk” moans the narrator with all dejection, before the remainder of the chorus section doubles her for the rejoinder: “But I’m always drunk and I always want to smoke.”
Home interjects some of the Southern State’s pessimism coupling downers lines like “I just want to see through the fog” with lyrical punch line “To get back my dog.”
Streams of consciousness and lonesomeness in Relative emphasise the idea of the 6-track as a quintessential break-up album, but there’s something about its rhythmic bounce that hints otherwise.
Stripped of pretension, the Foxy Morons bristle with genuine energy and carefree attitude. Perpetually trapped between the opposing threat of petering out entirely and clamouring into sonic disarray, the Foxy Morons’ 6-track certainly holds moments of Bangsian greatness.
But all hyperbole aside, the Tasmanian five-piece cut a great EP.