Saturday, September 24, 2016

Touch The Flame: A Look At The New One From Fatal Jamz

The new one from Fatal Jamz is an interesting proposition to be sure. Far too campy to be taken seriously -- it's called Pussy and Fame, after all -- and far too heartfelt to be entirely dismissed as a spoof of an earlier era's tune-age, this is an odd record and one that rewards listeners even as it confounds expectations of what indie-pop ought to be.

On stuff like "Coverboy" Fatal Jamz main-man Marion Belle approximates the appeal of Eighties radio hits pretty well, even if the effect is more successful when those influences are tempered a bit, like on "In Your Car". On tracks like "Lead Singer" and "Nikki Sixx", Belle seems to be wanting to harness the energy of hair metal which he does in a sense. But to what end? This sort of blending of glam and alternative only worked a bit for Gene Loves Jezebel and it's probably a stretch to think that Belle is going to be more successful at making this anything more than an ironic exercise in the appropriation of earlier styles. Still, his heart seems to be in it and in final cut, "Touch The Flame", he seems to have made something that's both in debt to O.M.D. and Nik Kershaw and still a touch affecting and original.

This new Fatal Jamz album is a goof in many ways but there's heart here too. The question for a listener is how prepared are you to listen to so many disparate Eighties touches throw together so busily? Pussy and Fame, out Friday on Lolipop Records, is an interesting proposition even if the ambition of Fatal Jamz sometimes exceeds what's actually heard on the record.

[Photo: Abigail Briley Bean]