Any band that makes fun of the Michigan Militia while carrying a tune is fine with me. And Moxy Früvous, with its new album "You Will Go To The Moon," definitely qualifies.
On its fourth release, the Toronto-bred quartet gets back to its quirky satirical roots and showcases real musical innovation. The album houses intergalactic favorites - in August, astronauts on the Mir shuttle were woken to strains of the title song, an ironic future telling about commercial expansion of our (as they call it) "orbiting rondelle."
It's no accident NASA chose to wake up its weary space travelers with an a cappella carnival ride with lyrics like "You will go to the moon / A paradise to rival Cancun / And one side's always sunny / You'll be raking in the money / Ah, you'll get paid on the moon." Moxy can definitely provide a lift that the broken ship can't, I'm sure.
The album is peppered with silly gems. In "Michigan Militia," a militia member expounds on his life over a banjo back-beat and mimicky moog and wurlitzer, poking fun at the "anti-government compound" lifestyle with just a few simple chords. "Your New Boyfriend" features a disgruntled ex's cheerful lament that his girl's new guy is a "right-wing shit," followed by a cheesy-but-wonderful retooling of the BeeGees's "I've Gotta Get A Message To You."
What sets this album above the prior three is that it incorporates all the aspects of the Früfour - allowing the folksier, acoustic sounds to emerge without stifling their poppy charm, like they did with the depressing all-or-nothing folk ethic on the 1995 album, "Wood." It's Moxy's talent, tempered with a bit of lunacy, that makes "You Will Go To The Moon" memorable.
Versatile lead singer Jian Ghomeshi's percussion smolders on the sultry "Sahara" and "No No Raja," and Murray Foster's bass vocals and guitar make "The Incredible Medicine Show" just that. And "Boo Time" shows Moxy gone noir, with dischordant accordion, saxophone and electric guitar abounding.
If any other group sang that people who stole your parking space, that guy who wrote that book about the Bell Curve and telemarketers calling during supper "deserve a great big kick in the ass," it might sound contrived. But Moxy's subtle a cappella renderings make "Kick In The Ass" a catchy anthem that makes you want to knock the crap out of the next chick who calls from Ameritech while you're eating your SpaghettiOs.
Whether you follow through on their exhortations or not, make sure you get your hands on this disc. It might not be selling on the moon just yet, but you'll probably find it at Tower.