Left Off The Dial

The Foxymorons are a tale of two singers: one straight and less expressive, the other high and shaky (like Timothy “Speed” Levitch singing Bob Dylan). If you put them together you might have Stephen Malkmus. Then again, maybe not, but I mention the Pavement frontman, because there are several moments on Hesitation Eyes that recall the gentler moments of Wowee Zowee. To be sure, they’ve crafted their own sound, but the comparisons to one of the greatest bands ever are warranted; and the record is pretty damn good.

The duo is at its best on opener “Harvard Hands,” and it’s lazy in a good way like “Father to a Sister of Thought,” getting it up only when it has to with a few mellow blasts of guitar. The blissed-out and Byrds-y “Terror on the Tarmac” is another fine moment, as is the mover, “Bending Back,” and the rousing, acoustic-tinged “Everything Changes,” which has a wonderful two-part chorus: one where they sing “Everything changes,” and the other a playful, moog-like guitar line.

What makes them so interesting, besides being so tuneful, is the outstanding guitar play. It’s not a stretch to say that every song seems to contain a surprise. Would it be nerd-ish to comment on the killer tones? There’s also a bit of playful and subtle experimentation: the backward notes opening the record, the loose, overhead feedback on “I’m Still in Love,” and the pleasant, underlining banjo in “This Heart of Mine.” Back and forth they go, taking turns singing songs both upbeat and resolute, rocking rather unpretentiously and effectively, which is pretty righteous, especially when that closer is so damn satisfying.