Moxy Fruvous sings a song like you've never heard. Are you listening?
[Moxy Fruvous in glorious B&W!]
Moxy Fruvous: Jian Ghomeshi, Dave Matheson, Murray Foster and Mike Ford
Seeing the Toronto-based band Moxy Fruvous perform is almost like watching The Ed Sullivan Show.
It's almost as if you're transported through some U.S.-Canadian portal to 1960-something: an experience that is the sum total of a hundred plate spinners, comedians, the latest teen sensations and, yes, a cute and cuddly teeny-tiny long-tailed mouse who says "Goodnight" in the most insanely wonderful way imaginable.
It is impossible to pigeonhole Fruvous as working within one particular musical genre. They are equal parts pop (which qualifies them for this site), a cappella, rock, barbershop quartet and comedy troupe. They wear the faces of badass balladeers as easily as they step into the shoes of roaring rockers. They can make you laugh and reduce you to tears.
They're magical magicians, these Fruvous boys. They play the usual band instruments, but also mix in banjo, tin whistle and accordion. They switch off instruments. They all sing and they sing like nobody's business. They are true originals.
They write great songs, like "Michigan Militia," which contains the great couplet, "Happy birthday, Tricia, I'm in the Michigan Militia." Their British Invasion song, "Get In The Car," is wonderful and absolutely spirited. Their a cappella live take on The BeeGees' "Gotta Get A Message To You" is quite exquisite, containing the best damn four part on-the-spot harmony I've ever heard. They sang it for me, for my Pure Pop radio show, huddled around a Sennheiser microphone, and it sent shivers up my spine.
On July 30 at The Birchmere, a premier concert house in Alexandria, Va., they played to a packed-like-sardines house, a most appreciative house, a house undivided by Fruvous or any other standard. They've just come out with a wonderful, representative-of-their-live-show live CD, Live Noise, on Bottom Line. They're working up cool new songs, and they played two of them here: the keyboard-based "Sad Girl" and "I Will Hold On," both very Beatle-esque, Rubber Soul-esque and gorgeous. A new album will come before you know it, and you will undoubtedly love it.
Moxy Fruvous. Not power-pop by any stretch of the imagination. But stretch that imagination, why don't you, and take a chance. Take one of their albums into your home. Maybe start with Live Noise. Then go to their previous, studio album, You Will Go To The Moon, and work backwards from there.
Moxy Fruvous is Dave Matheson, shaved head and The King Of Spain, too; Jian Ghomeshi, long-haired and never short of a smile; Mike Ford, King of Boo Time and a stage jumper-up-and-downer with Les Paul guitar in hand; and Murray Foster, King of the Quick Quip and boss bass player.
Moxy Fruvous is the Next Big Thing, unless you count orbiting Rondelle (listen to the grooves, baby) The Thing To Do On Your Day Off.
Moxy Fruvous is boss, man. Ol' Eddie would've been proud to have them on the Sunday spectacular.
Moxy Fruvous photo by Jay Strauss, courtesy of The Bottom Line Record Company