Moxy Fruvous

I first encountered the name of Moxy Früvous on a They Might Be Giants FAQ page, stating that they were a Canadian TMBG. That was three years ago and I have finally made the effort to overcome my inertia to check out this band. What I found is much more than a "Canadian TMBG" but rather a dark, acoustic collection of songs that hold to a common theme of love lost and regrets (although not without humor) in a musical character much like The Violent Femmes album Hallowed Ground. The feel of the album is very much like wood: warm, inviting and comfortable. The members of this band are gifted songwriters with the ability to make a song shine without the need for heavy instrumentation and electronic effects.

"Fly" is a sad, gentle love song with incredible harmonies and "The Present Tense Tureen" is a banjo-laden story of an encounter with an elf. "Poor Mary Lane" begins with a very TMBG sound but eventually sounds more like early Pink Floyd, owing this perhaps to the tasty organ throughout. Songs like "On Her Doorstep" and "Bed and Breakfast", with their prominent piano parts sound very much like a nod to Ben Folds Five. While most of the songs are excellent, for some reason they closed the album with the weak and rambling "Sad Today", following that with a "bonus" track of the even weaker (and ultimately more annoying) "Organ Grinder". Aside from their ability to craft tasty pop/country/alternative songs, the strongest asset of Moxy Früvous is their incredibly rich two and three part harmonies that grace every song, making it neigh impossible not to sing along with the part of your choice. There will probably be more Moxy Früvous albums added to my collection in the near future as I check out their previous recordings and hopefully they will be as solid as this one.

This review first appeared in WhatzUp, December 1999.