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|An End-of-the-World Party|
|Music - Feature Stories|
|Tuesday, 12 November 2002 18:00|
Portland, Oregon, is creating some unique breeds these days. The Epoxies are the resurgence of an inescapably pleasurable combination of punk and new wave, and the result on the band’s self-titled debut is really short and upbeat songs, flashy hooks, very competent musicianship, and damn smart, simple lyrics.
This is an album that has the potential to entertain multiple generations of listeners simultaneously in under 30 minutes. And best of all, the band will be making a stop on Friday at Lumpy’s in Davenport.
Some might wince at the thought of obnoxious synthesizer making its way back onto the airwaves, but when a band is doing it well in 2002, it’s kind of cool.
It’s also cool to use pseudonyms. Maybe we’re just sick of having to remember all of those musicians’ last names, or maybe it’s a stab at the possibility of mainstream recognition. After all, everybody knows who Snoop Dogg is. Either way, Roxy Epoxy (vocals), Dr. Grip (drums), Shock Diode (bass/vocals), Viz Spectrum (guitar), and F.M. Static (synthesizer/vocals), vinyl pants and all, are ready to go when you are. This begs the questions: Are the Epoxies merely a band that longs for simpler times, are they marketing geniuses, or are they your newest drinking buddies?
They’re probably all of these things, but it’s impossible to put too much stock into any of it when the music makes you feel this good. When two hedonistic genres collide, it’s a veritable swingers party in your ears.
Yet when the subject matter is apocalyptic relationship dilemmas and space-aged angst, I’m not sure if I should look back to a dismal past or a gloriously frightening future. On “We’re So Small,” Roxy and company reflect, “Please don’t you worry baby, we won’t feel a thing / They say it’s over in a flash / A hydrogen solution to our suffering / All our problems turn to dust and ash.” This album begs you to think about how you’d spend the eve of the end of the world, and that’s what both defines the work and makes it exhilarating. The band has managed to use very dated genres to encapsulate a sense of desperation and longing that didn’t find itself significantly creeping into music until Kurt Cobain, Eddie Vedder, and Rivers Cuomo saturated their songs with it.
Great songwriting generally stems from experience, and it’s apparent that the Epoxies are experienced; they’re great songwriters. “Please Please” starts with a staccato synth run that remains the base throughout the song, fuzzy guitar accentuates the instrumentation, and the rhythm players bring it all together as Roxy lays down her soon-to-be trademark vocals, pining, “Please please, I don’t think this world is right / Take me, take me back to space tonight.” You’ll want to go with her.
The work that the Epoxies are producing transcends the genres that they are producing it in. As a result, this album becomes more than just songs, because it combines the knee-jerk reaction of familiar sugary sounds that you are sure to have heard before with emotion that isn’t usually present in bands that use duct tape as a fashion accessory. The Epoxies will do for popular music what The Strokes and White Stripes have done for rock and roll this year.
This album is the perfect accompaniment to one drink and two cigarettes before you go to check out the Epoxies’ live show, which has been touted as a “time warp” where you’ll “jump up and down and wiggle and giggle and boogalew, and then … go back to the bathroom and put on more makeup.” If the show is half as interesting as the album, then that time warp may pull you into some crazy disco-ball future as well, and I wouldn’t miss that party for the world … or the end of it for that matter.
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