Review

Review

Roxy Epoxy: BAND-AIDS ON BULLET HOLES - CD Review

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Portland, Oregon-based “robot garage band” The Epoxies enjoyed a successful run between 2000 and 2007, with a string of underground hits (including some sweet covers of Alice Cooper's “We're All Clones” and the Scorpions' “Robot Man”) and a strong cult reputation among clubs in the Pacific Northwest. A lot of their appeal came from the unique performing talents of frontwoman Roxy Epoxy – who thrilled audiences with a sly, sultry voice, wild costumes and a primal, feline stage presence, and assured that an Epoxies show was an unforgettable experience. In the void created by the band's breakup a couple of years ago, Roxy's creative energy needed a new outlet: “I had a ton of material at different states of completion and finally had the time to dig into it,” she explains. “I had wanted to head in a slightly different direction for a while.”

Initially setting her sights on a solo project using songs she co-wrote with her guitarist, Roxy soon realized her vision was bigger than that, and sought out even more like-minded artists to participate. “I'm still using the name Roxy Epoxy, sure, but this wouldn't have progressed this far without the people I've had the pleasure of working with,” she continues. “When you add more people, the whole thing broadens. I like to have outside input.” This team effort eventually solidified last year into what ultimately became electro-punk combo The Rebound – whose debut release Band-Aids on Bullet Holes presents a darker, meaner but just as infectiously fun sound than their predecessors.

Fusing elements of post-punk icons like Siouxsie and the Banshees onto a framework of contemporary electro-punk, The Rebound carry over a lot of the elements that distinguished Roxy's former team, but replaces the more comical sci-fi elements with an edgy, aggressive attitude. “I think The Rebound are a bit more introspective,” Roxy says of the new group. “The music is more intricate and is a bit more rock than pop.”

That energy is now being transmitted through a darker, more menacing filter, driven by harsh, organic proto-Goth guitars and weirdly evolving synthesizer lines. The resulting creepy tone is immediately apparent in opening cut “Walls,” which lays down a buzzing, '80s Batcave vibe beneath alternately smooth and knife-sharp vocals. That New Wave love permeates every second of the album, from the bouncy, infectious up-tempo “New Way,” with its rolling, plucked riffs and squealing synth leads, to the Cars-like bass & synth licks of “Svengali,” to the darker, more Siouxsie-like “I Know, I Know,” backed by a rousing guitar chorus and darkly romantic lyrics (“I want to take my heart to bed and play dead”). Roxy's songwriting goes into an even darker place with surreal cut “The Spider and the Leach,” which weaves a bizarre tale of a horrifically dysfunctional family.

But the songs aren't all angst and eyeliner... those proto-goth touches are balanced with  rousing post-punk anthems like “This Twist” and “Dependence Leads Your Fortune,” filled with glassy filter sweeps and fist-pumping “oh-oh-ohs” and feeling for all the world like The Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde sitting in on a jam session with Gary Numan's Tubeway Army around 1981. The booming toms of “Watch Me” close out the album with a brooding declaration of rebellion, filled with interwoven plucked guitars and a sharp, sneering lyrical delivery punctuated with echoing laughter. The whole experience warms the cockles of a crusty old fart like me, and wouldn't have felt a bit out of place on MTV's 120 Minutes circa 1986. For those too young to remember when MTV actually played music, this CD may just shine a new light on a highly inventive musical era that got lost in the woods of cliché for too long before turning surprisingly cool again.

As tour dates to promote Band-Aid are being finalized, Roxy expressed her excitement about presenting the new material – not only to fans of her former band's songs, but a whole new audience as well – with her signature style. “I love performing and can't keep still when it comes down to it,” she says. “It should be very high energy and exciting to watch... I really like interacting with people during performance. I'm always up for someone jumping up and doing some singing or dancing with us.”

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