FOXHALL STACKS: The Coming Collapse: LP

Given the sheer volume of icky non-starters with which this crew has been associated over the course of the last thirty-five years or so (Jawbox? Junkyard?? Post-’82 Bad Religion??? Hailp!), and given that the cover graphics are so snooty that I’m surprised they didn’t suggest a wine pairing, I have to admit that I’m pleasantly stunned at how doggone good this record is. The sticker on the front calls it “Power Pop”—it’s not; it’s way too unconcerned with fucking to fall under that particular umbrella—it’s more of a moderned-up version of a mid-’80s slow-burn classic like MIA’s After the Fall or something like that, a blessed-by-all-sides marriage of melody, musicianship, songwriting, and other such esoteric concepts, yielding an album that you have no intention of liking but wind up liking anyway. And, even if you don’t like it, the production on this record is so friggin’ perfect that you’re gonna be compelled to listen, regardless. Most of the records released by early ’80s bands in 1986 and 1987 sucked; this album reminds me of the few that didn’t. These guys are still gonna hafta write catchier choruses if they’re gonna make a serious run at being the post-hardcore Mott The Hoople (the chorus as a whole having dropped from vogue in the greater Washington, DC area sometime around 1985), but sometimes you just gotta tip your cap and admire the picture of the piano. Well done. BEST SONG “Take Control.” BEST SONG TITLE: “Turntable Exiles.” FANTASTIC AMAZING TRIVIA FACT: My copy of this album is slightly larger than the standard diameter and therefore I cannot close my turntable’s dust cover when it is on the turntable. –Rev. Nørb (Snappy Little Numbers, snapppylittlenumbers.com)