Why should we care about Eric Sean Nally? Straight from his mouth, he considers the band he plays in as “the rabble-rousing pack of fucks called Foxy Shazam, AKA the Michael Jordan of Rock N Roll.” If you’ve seen them live, that quote is as damning as ever. Eric will swallow his microphone, dress in elaborate, Queen-esque costumes, yowl incessantly, and eat lit cigarettes on stage. A YouTube video shows him crawling on the side walk, banging his head non stop for it’s entirety. Foxy Shazam are a rebel rousing pack of fucks indeed, and they are here to destroy your conservative notions of what constitutes as rock n’ roll.
In 2005, the band released their fantastic and criminally underrated debut, The Flamingo Trigger. This is a record that while a tad obscure due to being overshadowed by their subsequent, more commercially successful records, stands as their best yet. It wasn’t difficult to make, had a low production budget and doesn’t take itself too seriously at all, yet it’s idiosyncrasies stuck out so well that I’d go as far as to call it a classic. Like Andrew W.K. (who’d I imagine Eric shows some appreciation for or vice versa), Foxy Shazam just want to party hard. While this is true for the rest of there records, this one is their most manic and intense. It presents a grandeur that isn’t just outrageous and flamboyant, but also brutal, hilarious, and with an experimental touch.
To put it simply, The Flamingo Trigger sounds fantastic. The instrumentation, while not complex, is sonically colorful, with piano melodies syncopating with the drums, guitar, and bass at the perfect moments, like on ‘Seagulls Over Rhinoceros Bay Pt. 1 & 2’. The guitars and down tuned bass are standard fare for post-hardcore records and sound heavy, thick, and discordant. Eric’s vocals, gargle, groan, growl, scream, spew hilarious gibberish, and presents an animated personality to Foxy Shazam. This all adds up to a disturbing mess that is strangely beautiful, as non-serious as this record is.
The first track ‘The French Passion of Animality Opera’ kicks everything off into overdrive immediately. From what I can understand, Eric is singing about infatuation, but other then that it’s fantastic sounding gibberish. While writing this review, I’ve listened to this track anywhere from 10 – 20 times, just because it’s synergy was so epic. ‘NO. Don’t Shoot’ stands out due to it’s hilariously odd mid-section. Halfway through, the song starts with a mellow, calm piano section which loses it shit with a breakdown. “EEE OOH AAH! BIGGIDY BIGGIDY BOO!” Eric screams. He then growls and gargles like an animal as the guitar and bass chug away heavy riffs, and every last moment of it is exhilarating.
‘October Surf Suitcase Fish’ starts off with a dramatic piano intro that segues into a rather gorgeous chorus, but then the song abruptly loses it’s mind with more guttural screams and breakdowns. ‘Seagulls Over Rhinoceros Bay Pt. 1 & 2’ like mentioned before carry sonically pleasant qualities. Aside from that however, Pt.1 presents one of the most interesting quotes on the record. “HEAVY METAL SUCKS AND ROCK N ROLL’S DEAD!” While I do in fact enjoy metal, quite a bit of the mainstream, radio friendly stuff can be a drag. But Eric is claiming that rock is being tamed to the point of death, and that it takes a pack of animals like Foxy Shazam! to keep it’s ferocity alive.
‘Aroma of You’ starts off with a post-hardcore charge of growling bass and guitars before going into a cheery chorus about pissing in someone’s butt hole and admiring their eyes. The Untitled middle track is a deceptively disturbing piano interlude with random bouts of hysterical screams of pain. ‘Sailors Over Rhinoceros Bay’ is simply a giant mess of nonsense and ends up sounding amazing anyways. Then again, isn’t this entire record just a bunch of nonsense? Usually when a band doesn’t try too hard, they either suck horribly or somehow sound fantastic due to owning their limitations. Foxy Shazam doesn’t triumph through sheer ability, but rather chaos that is so weird and fucked up that is has to work.
‘Brains of Vegas’ continues The Flamingo Trigger‘s surprising balance of brutality and beauty. The song talks about traveling the 7 seas to find Eric Sean Nally’s home in Georgia. Why Georgia? Maybe it’s because Eric has quite the appreciation for black women, as seen on album cover for Foxy Shazam’s Self-Titled album and through I Like It off of The Church of Rock and Roll. I’m pretty sure ‘My Wife’s Juice’ and ‘Water Tower Wine’ has some sexual meaning behind it and the chorus kicks complete ass. ‘Across the Golden Field’ is the most brutal song on the record and is post-hardcore breakdowns and death growls at their finest. Somehow a Xylophone makes it in the song, as Eric growls “RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!” over and over again.
‘Shadow of a Shoulder Parrot’ finishes the record off with another simple piano interlude. The recording quality is distorted and fades the audio off a bit in some areas, but it serves as a nice touch. It ends the record on an exhausted note, yet due to it’s replay value, it’s convincing to play again ASAP. This is a restless record that doesn’t run out of energy or get tiring. Foxy Shazam (no longer with the exclamation mark) are currently on hiatus after releasing their latest record Gonzo this year, yet they plan on getting back together. While they no longer play these songs, The Flamingo Trigger will remain a document of Foxy Shazam at their craziest, most energetic, and possibly best.