Thursday, August 27, 2020

Foxycontin - This Time You're On Your Own

Now here's a debut LP that can truly be called "long-awaited"! Philadelphia's Foxycontin formed in 2003. Out now on Sister Raygun Records, This Time You're On Your Own is Foxycontin's first album after nearly 18 years as a band! This foursome features some big names from the Philly underground rock scene. Richard Kaufmann (The Electric Love Muffin, Rolling Hayseeds) is on vocals and guitar. Michael Barndt (Krhissy) is on drums. Over the years, Kauffman has been associated with musical styles as differing as pop-punk and country rock. Foxycontin definitely leans more towards the former - blending the influence of Stiff Records pub rock/power pop with the pop-leaning side of '70s punk and a little garage rock. This merging of styles really works well. If you like pop and you like punk but have had your fill of "pop-punk", this album might be exactly what you're craving. 

On record, Foxycontin sounds like the seasoned live band that it obviously is. Its songs are well-crafted, tightly-executed, and bound to stick in your head. Coming on strong with the soulful title track and the Stiff Little Fingers inspired "The Whole World Knows I'll Never Get Over It Now", This Time You're On Your Own will grab you from the get-go and keep you hooked to the end. You would certainly expect a veteran band like this to show a good range of material. And in that respect, songs like "Starting To Show" and album closer "Shiver" are master displays of how to rock with maturity and sophistication. Yet at the same time, this band is not reluctant to lean on the simplicity and pure energy that will forever be the lifeblood of rock and roll. "Alive In Interesting Times" is melodic punk at its most urgent and satisfying, while "But You'll Never Listen" summons the spirit of a young Elvis Costello and The Attractions. "Fine...Fine!" is straight-up garage rock that really hits the mark. On its several cover selections, this album pays homage to significant influences (Nick Lowe, The Sweet) while also bringing attention to some lesser-known but truly great songs. The band's version of the Chris Farlowe B-side "Headlines" is one of the album's highlights. "Junk Passion", another standout track, was written and originally recorded by the very talented (and fellow Philadelphian) songwriter Brian Seymour. While it might be a little unusual for a full third of a band's debut album to be covers, I think it was a smart choice for Foxycontin. It gives the album the feel of a live set, and it really shows off the band's chops (you don't dare cover "Headlines" if your drummer isn't an absolute beast!). 

This Time You're On Your Own was recorded, produced, and mixed by Pete Rydberg at his south Philly studio 1935. Rydberg put his usual magic touch on this album, but he sure had a lot to work with! The material is strong, and the musicianship is lights out! You would expect a lot from a debut album that was essentially a decade and a half in the making. This Time You're On Your Own delivers in full. If you're into great American indie rock and roll bands like The Figgs and The Safes, Foxycontin is highly recommended!


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