Moxy Fruvous (Bottom Line)
Like fellow Canadians and kindred spirits Barenaked Ladies, Moxy Fruvous makes kicky pop with a nerdy aesthetic, and exhibits a penchant for novelty numbers. So it seems odd that after the Ladies finally break through with the hokey One Week, Moxy Fruvous decides to play it straight.
On this fifth studio shindig, you won't hear about the Michigan militia, Spanish royalty, or short works of fiction. Instead, the Toronto quartet offers 12 harmony-laden, acoustically based relationship songs that play like Beatles byproduct: Revolver writing and Rubber Soul production. The Fruvi don't foreswear cleverness ("I'll hold your breath if that won't make you blue" on I Will Hold On); they've simply cut the clown act. Let's hope it's only a phase. Fred Beckley, Knight Ridder