Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Fox - Fox (1975)


  

Released in 1975

Fox were one of those groups that grew out of glam rock but had a more pseudo-sophisticated, quirky sound. Sparks and 10cc were probably the best examples of this sort of group, but Fox weren't far behind, albeit briefly, just for this one album, really. Producer Kenny Young created the group, using Australian vocalist Susan Traynor and renaming her Noosha Fox, giving her a bit of mysterious allure. Of course, all of us sixteen year old boys fancied her at the time.

TRACK LISTING

1. Love Letters
2. Imagine Me Imagine You
3. The Juggler
4. Patient Tigers
5. Only You Can
6. The More
7. Spirit
8. He's Got Magic
9. Pisces' Babies
10. Love Ship
11. Red Letter Day

The album opens in low-key fashion with a piano and organ-powered cover of Ketty Lester's "Love Letters". It highlights Noosha Fox's smoky, breathy voice, however. The group's second chart hit was the catchy, beguiling "Imagine Me Imagine You". It has that arty but commercial rock sound that was around in 1974-75, inspired by Roxy Music, 10cc and Cockney Rebel and taken up by bands like Fox, Sparks and even ones like Pilot. "The Juggler" goes all a bit hippy/mystic. There was also a little bit of classy pretension about Fox. It has a nice, deep bass line and another sexy vocal. "Patient Tigers" continues in that vein too. There seemed to be a conscious effort to sound beguiling, mysterious and enigmatically sexy (the album's cover backed that up too - Noosha in a wicker chair in a floaty, attractive dress looking thoughtful), and certainly the big debut hit single fitted the bill. "Only You Can" began with a "false" intro of another melody before it launched into a maelstrom of "Judy Teen"-esque Steve Harley and Russell Mael-isms. It was beautifully, kookily perfect.

The ambience and lyrics do tend to sound a little like sixth-form poetry at times though particularly in the quasi-philosophical, grandly orchestrated "The More". The airy, breahless and catchy "Spirit" is a good one, though, and Noosha's Fox floats sexily all around, captivatingly. It was always my favourite from the album back in the day. Quite what "oh - vla, vla, vla, vla, vla Spirit.." meant though is unclear. "Vla"? Were they inventing a new language too? Another one I liked was the thumping, singalong commercial, country-ish rock of "He's Got Magic".

"Pisces' Babies" had another hippy-ish lyric but it has an airy (but also bassy) inviting rhythm to it and another seductive Fox vocal. "Love Ship" is also floatily appealing. "Red Letter Day" begins with some string orchestration before a catchy chorus fades in. It is once more an instantly attractive song. You can sing with it immediately. There is some good material on this album. I find the occasional listen to this album to be a refreshing breath of fresh seventies air. There is still a place for this album in the world.

*** Two interesting pieces of trivia regarding this album are that Kenny Young wrote "Under The Boardwalk" for The Drifters and that Ben Goldacre MBE, a noted British physicist and academic, is the son of Noosha Fox.

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