Out of Los Angeles, California, Black Them Boots’ genre-defying, post-folk album “Fancy” contains eleven tracks of lighthearted melodies guiding heartsick lyrics through incendiary guitar riffs and a thumping rhythm section. The premise of “Fancy,” lyrically and musically, is to be an ironic take on life’s misfortunes. Singer-songwriter Larry Strap offers his incisive observations of despondency delivered with beaming wit and folksy charm, often accompanied by up-tempo, dance-inducing instrumentations. The album’s third track “Dear Darling” is representative of this. Catchy “do-do” vocals replace an expected chorus, and with the bouncy bass line, it gives the song a car commercial-like jingle, when all the while morose lyrics like “Oh yeah that’s my heart on my sleeve, you stab, you jab, you poke at me” leaves listeners scratching their scalps. To conclude their debut, the quartet pays homage to Daniel Johnston in true form: with a spunky rendition of the melancholic ballad “True Love Will Find You In The End.” A song often interpreted as depressing is given a new luster as the uplifting denouement of a narrative chockfull of misery.
Even the album’s title is a multilayered play on words. “Fancy” makes fun of the band’s overdue effort to capture its rough-cut sound on a quality recording. Also, it calls attention to the overall cleanness and simplicity in which their songs are executed—save for the playfully delayed guitar riffs of lead guitarist Pat McCoy in “Don’t Look Back” and “One Way,” the trumpet blares of “Seven Miles Of Copper,” and the sampled backtrack of “Home,” there is nothing slick—nothing fancy—about how this album was put together.
Producer Cameron Webb recorded the main tracks at Maple Sound Studio in Santa Ana, California in just a few days in late 2008. With a repertoire that includes bands like Social Distortion, Motörhead, and Silverstein, Cameron manned the helm during the simultaneous tracking sessions, encouraging minimal production and editing to make “Fancy” an album that bottles Black Them Boots’ electrifying live performances. What you hear on the recording is what you will get on the stage.
Black Them Boots was formed in the Summer of 2006. Slow out of the gate due to a series of personal tragedies, the band has defiantly bounced back with this Spring of 2009 release of a proper debut. Keep a close watch on these guys as they pick up momentum—and this is where it starts rolling: get “Fancy.”