Moxy Fruvous shows unique blend of style

Few adjectives can really describe Moxy Fruvous – one can throw words at the band all day long and not one will stick. Moxy Fruvous is not just another step in the evolution of popular music – the band has risen above the rest of the industry.

Any band that can successfully synthesize the emotions of love, loss and wonder, while encouraging the people of Philadelphia to grab their pitchforks and conquer Pittsburgh, is certainly a collection of talented and technically gifted musicians.

Moxy Fruvous is more than just multi-faceted. While many of the leaders of today’s popular music are defined by their style, Moxy Fruvous transcends style.

Phish, the descendants of the meandering jam, has an unmistakable sound. With the manifestation of Dave Matthews’ vocals, intricate instrumentation and a vision, Dave Matthews Band has a sound. But Moxy Fruvous’ sound defines the word.

Through all 23 tracks on its new live release, Live Noise, Moxy Fruvous opens the Pandora’s box of music, while the rest of the music world continues to build walls around it. To say the least, the album is stimulating, hilarious, eclectic and excellent.

On the album, the band glides through Afro-funk, glam-rock, Spanish folk, country western and even rap. Moxy Fruvous flexes its muscles, fluctuating between songs like “The King of Spain,” a semi-a cappella ditty about a usurped king who works at Pizza Pizza, to “The Lowest Highest Point,” a Frank Zappa-esque rap about American geography. Impressively, Moxy Fruvous even rants about the Michigan Militia fun.

After seven years of performing, the Canadian quartet decided to release a collection of live tracks recorded between October 1997 and April 1998. Some people treat live records like second-hand citizens and many times they’re right to do so. However, Moxy Fruvous clearly understands the positive aspects of the live experience and capitalizes on those positives. Although a studio album may have been cleaner and more coherent, Live Noise succeeds with chaos, spontaneous improvisation and plenty of crowd participation.

The album overflows with pure live music. Every track excels, but some of the slower tracks may bog down listeners. Songs like “Fly,” a somber look at a break-up, can get intense at times. The band also pays homage to the twistedness of the past, covering Talking Heads’ 1977 underground classic “Psycho Killer” and Tom Waits’ “Jockey Full of Bourbon.” The band reclaims the power of the songs with the Moxy Fruvous touch.

Moxy Fruvous is like the gods in Clash of the Titans, looking down on a musical world just ripe for playful explorations.

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