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  Beware Fashionable Women  
  Beware Fashionable Women  
  Spearhead Audio  
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Beware Fashionable Women is a four piece whose self-titled debut album has already drawn powerful comparisons. If you look around, you'll see their music related to acts ranging from the mid-era Beatles and Pink Floyd to the Beach Boys to more modern acts like Weezer and The Eels. That's all well and good, but it's all perhaps not fair to the band, for it's hard to see how any ostensibly new act could measure up to such expectations. In fact, someone listening to Beware Fashionable Women for the first time might be forgiven for being a bit skeptical about the hyperbole listed above. And that, unfortunately, doesn't do justice to the rather interesting Indie pop which Beware Fashionable Women have served up.

The album begins with Rock Bottom, an upbeat little tune which reminds me a bit of the early works of The Rosebuds (think Kicks in the Schoolyard, and you're in the right place), with its emphatic snare drum and insistent organ backing some rather pretty vocal harmonies. From there, we move on the oddly syncopated rhythms of Obligatory Tattoo, which features a lower vocal line in a quirky minor-keyed style before kicking into a catchy power-chorded chorus. The juxtaposition makes the tune more interesting than either of its components, which gives the delivery a little extra punch.

The band slows things down a bit with Found, which has a jazzy vocal structure that is mimicked by the bass line, over which the trebly guitars noodle around gracefully. In some ways, this song sounds like something off of Elvis Costello's My Aim is True, albeit without Costello's more mournful voice. Things pick up from there with Girls on Fire, which has the bounce of one of Texas bands like Tammany Hall Machine combined with more of that power pop chorus, similar to that heard earlier on Obligatory Tattoo. The next song, Your Allegiance brings on a comparison I never thought I would make on Evil Sponge. The song begins with the exact 4/4 beat and guitar riff that opens The Rock*a*Teens Cry, Crybaby. It's so dead-on that I was surprised to hear a keyboard melody and a lighter male vocal chant instead of Chris Lopez's growl. Nevertheless, this is an effective pop tune in the 60s vein, courtesy of the harmonies and the soaring chorus.

Beware Fashionable Women shows a more rock side with The Great Corruptor (Of Youth). The guitars are louder and lower, and the beats are a heavier. Likewise, it breaks down into a bit of semi-psychedelia (think The Eskimos) before reverting to a safer structure. It's a nice little tune that flows somewhat oddly into the light guitar work and organs of I'll be the DJ. This is another tune that harkens back to some of the early songs of bands like What Made Milwaukee Famous or Dynah. And if you consider that those acts too claimed to be influence by a band like Weezer, I can begin to understand why other reviewers have immediately latched onto the Weezer-esque comparisons.

The Texas comparisons of Tammany Hall Machine, What Made Milwaukee Famous, and Dynah hold true through the self-consciously "quirky" Parade, which also brings to mind a tune like Give It All Up by Club Awesome with its self-referential lyrics and bouncy melody. In a change of pace, Courage begins with arpeggioed guitars which flow into a pleasant, happy melody which combines both the vocals and bass. It's a bit like a slower outtake from Sharks and Minnows' final album, The Cost of Living, and has one of the nicest song structures on the entire record. The album ends with The Big Yellow, another jazzy tune which is similar to Found, although it's a bit faster paced and features the same elegantly precise harmonies found throughout Beware Fashionable Women's catalogue.

Somewhat ironically, as you can see from above, like other reviewers, I found plenty of musical comparisons throughout Beware Fashionable Women. However, unlike some of those other reviewers, you'll also see that the bands I reference aren't ones which enjoyed a great deal of mainstream success. This may not be what the band Beware Fashionable Women are looking for, yet nevertheless I think their summery pop is in fact Indie, which implies (to me, at least) that they are a little outside the norm. And being outside the norm is always a more difficult musical path to follow. Still, in the end, Beware Fashionable Women offers much to the listener, as long as the expectations are not too overblown.

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