Keep Your Wig On
First Appeared in The Music Box, July 2004, Volume 11, #7
Written by T.J. Simon
Other bands mining the same musical territory as Fastball ó the Chicago-based ensemble Frisbie, for example ó have been unable to string together a series of quality albums over a sustained period of time. While Keep Your Wig On, the groupís first collection of new material in four years, isnít a radical departure from its previous efforts, the trio from Austin, Texas continues to show the same hook-heavy pop sensibility as Fountains of Wayne while infusing Beatles-based influences throughout the set.
Fastballís success is largely due to the fact that it claims two talented frontmen (Mike Zuniga and Tony Scalzo), who can sing, write songs, and play guitar and piano. As a result, the band appears to draw from a seemingly bottomless pit of perfect pop melodies as evidenced by the tracks Lou-ee, Lou-ee and I Get High, while its odes to The Beatles shine brightest on Perfect World, Shortwave, and Someday. In addition, the group adeptly is able to break from formulaic songwriting patterns with the likable Latin-tinged number Red Light and the alt-country-ish Mercenary Girl.
One thing that unfortunately is underutilized on Keep Your Wig On is the presence of piano, which typically has lifted Fastballís past efforts to considerable heights. Yet, that seems like a minor quibble, when a group is able to craft songs as consistently fantastic as these.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box