Ten years ago, on their third and so far still best album, Hesitation Eyes, the Foxymorons tucked a brief blast of joyous fuzz in at the end of the disc. This three minute block of garage-rocking lo-fi that was at odds with the rest of the album’s rueful indie-pop, full of buzz and dissonance, and it might have seemed like a throwaway, except that it was title song. Now two records later, the long-distance duo of Jerry James and Dave Dewese (James in a Dallas suburb, Dewese in Nashville) have made a whole album out of these songs. Fake Yoga is roughshod collection of rousers and bangers that hides its moody side so well that you can hardly tell it’s there. (It’s there.)
Fake Yoga was recorded at the Echo Lab in Texas, with the help of two Centro-Matic alums, Will Johnson and Matt Pence. They seem to have brought out the Foxymorons’ raggedly glorious side, with rampant guitars slashing through hooky melody, burnt to a stub vocals weaving through delirious garage pop riffs. You might get a whiff of the rowdier end of the Elephant 6 Collective here, particularly Beulah, because like Miles Kurowsky, the Foxymorons embed world-weary ruminations in infectious lo-fi celebration.
“Permanent Frown,” for instance, is an indie-pop upper, roughened with distortion, clashing and clattering over a bedrock of tunefulness. An instant shot of energy, a trip, a head-rush, it’s all those things, and when it cuts back to nothing for a stripped bare, vulnerable interval, you’ve hardly had time to sympathy before it kicks back into high gear. “Sentient Creatures,” too, barrels forward on blustery, blistering garage rock momentum, with rackety drums and fuzzed guitar arguing against any sort of ambivalence. Yet it’s there, in the singing, cracked and mildly sarcastic, articulating all the things that the singer, well into the responsible decades, considers “not my job.”
What you might miss in Fake Yoga, if you’ve been around for a while, are the mordant, Wilco-ish ballads that dotted Hesitation Eyes, “Harvard Hands,” “Lazy Librarian’s Son” and others. For that, you’ll have to hang on to the end, for the 12/8 shuffle of “Slow Geometry,” which threads a lyrical ode to low expectations through doo-woopy counterparts and guitar overload. Still Fake Yoga is a very solid album and much more compelling than 2010’s Bible Stories. If you like fuzzed-blurred r ‘n r with a large dollop of self-awareness, Fake Yoga is your jam.