REVIEW: Foozle - Romantic Comedies

Kelly Kirwan

The cover art for Foozle’s new full-length album sits like a kind of psychological test—an offshoot of the Rorschach inkblot that demonstrates how we can imbue a perfectly neutral picture with our own meaning. There are white walls, disheveled packing boxes, and a painting of two people, a couple likely, with the man leaning forward for a kiss on the cheek. My mind drifts to a breakup scenario, these pieces like relics of a past relationship—until I realize Foozle’s new album is titled Romantic Comedies. I'd advise sidestepping my creeping cynicism and simply diving into Foozle’s tongue-in-cheek lyrics, healthy dose of dissonance, and offhand vocal delivery.

As I listen through the record, I realize they’ve forged their own ground when it comes to relationship-minded music. This album is about the humdrum of the everyday, life and its little tediums. The credits have rolled on the big-budget Hollywood production, and we’re drifting through the ordinary, having leveled out to the simmer that follows those first magnetic sparks. And it’s still interesting, hooking us with its relatable humor and affinity for a strong guitar. 

Foozle has a rock-solid chemistry between Maryland-based bandmates Joanna Walker, Ryan Witt (who also has a hand in Go Cozy and UVF Rays), and Jake Lazovick (also known for Sitcom). They’re friends first, striking up a bond in high school and carrying this repertoire and seamless familiarity into their music. Their sophomore album is like listening to old friends shoot the shit, bottling a magnetism in something that sounds, in theory, pretty boring. But, it isn’t.

For instance, "TV Wrestling," a slow-moving melody that has an air of the ominous, its guitar strokes eliciting a crisp twang as the drums peter off softly in the background. Ambient sounds of wind pick up towards the end, a whistle that turns that to gust, threatening an eventual storm to come. It’s a song that feels like a nod to a fallen or unsung hero, battered and down on his luck, the meandering guitar riff evoking hazy similarities to those eyes-locked moments in an old-fashioned Western duel. The male vocal pitch is characteristically even (“I curl up in a bloody pose / And I pretend to prefer where I am”), and is later joined by Joanna Walkers’ intonation, “We can go on without it / We try to put our finger on it … And the afternoon light rolls in again.”

On "Winston," Joanna Smith takes the singing lead, her voice overflowing with indie-pixie quirk as the guitar dips into deep, electric-bluesy reverb beside steady percussion. “There are days when I’m so tired / I can’t sleep … I’m feeling lazy lately / But that’s okay / 'Cause I’ve got you,” she sings with the occasional male accompaniment, as the backing instruments press on with their sandpaper touch. It’s a different pace from their other songs, which drift over everyday lists and observations, like the small victory of a traffic light finally changing color. They live in the here and now (case in point, their song titled "¯\_(ツ)_/¯"), and they don’t try and turn the day-to-day into something it isn’t. They don’t need to, because there's a lot here to work with as-is.