In the press bio for Springhead Motorshark, Michael Kelly Smith, Britny Fox’s lead and rhythm guitarist, talks about the quality of many Seattle bands in the early 1990s which usurped the dominance of hard rock and glam rock groups like his own. “You have a lot of really good bands out there with a certain style,” he says, “and then the really bad ones come along, copy it and ruin everything.”
The sad thing is, Smith fails to realize that his comments neatly sum up the musical legacy of Britny Fox, who in the late 1980s landed a deal in the slipstream of heavyweights such as Motley Crue, Cinderella and Guns N Roses, made three largely unimpressive, tired and clichéd albums and faded away without too many music fans grieving for them.
But now, with the same level of improbability and absurdity as Bobby Ewing’s return to Dallas, Britny Fox is back! Spitfire Records, the home of every ’80s LA Glam band you hated then and loathe even more now, has seen fit to release an all-new effort from “one of the few bands of its time to survive and excel creatively.” Yeah, right.
There’s precious little evidence of creative excellence on Springhead Motorshark, instead, there are 11 new songs which somehow manage to plumb new depths of inferiority. Indeed, it’s almost too much to sit through tracks such as the mid-tempo, piano-based “LA” and the plodding “Far Enough” (which sets various bible passages to a tuneless dirge) without wishing you were deaf.
At least “T.L.U.C. (For You)” has some semblance of a melody, because closing track “Sri Lanka,” complete with mystical Indian instrumentation, doesn’t have much at all. “Coup D’etat” is the album’s obligatory guitar solo, an effort that sounds excruciating enough until you hear all three minutes of the instrumental title track.
After hearing the acoustic “Is It Real,” I asked myself the same question of Springhead Motorshark. The whole experience of listening to the album is neatly encapsulated by the title of the opening track, “Pain” — a song which contains some of the worst lyrics I have ever had the misfortune to hear: “Cunt trendy to the core / Debt cold and you’re the door / I choke your drowning tea / Your black death skies swallow all of me / PAIN / WASH ME AWAY.”
Hard rock may be making a comeback in the form of The Darkness, but at least their rock clichés are delivered in a self-consciously tongue-in-cheek way. Britny Fox remain as deluded as ever, by not only releasing this terrible, terrible record but also by believing that being featured on VH1’s Where Are They Now special gave them “a new level of appreciation”.
Spitfire Records: http://www.spitfirerecords.com/