Bobby Fox – the all singing and dancing Irish-born Aussie who also has theatre under his belt. Starring in stage shows such as recent classic The Jersey Boys, Bobby has done himself proud. As if that doesn’t make him talented enough, his new album The Fantastic Mr Fox manages to remind us of a classic style that feels like it’s been forgotten by the mainstream.
With his smooth as silk vocals and Sinatra-esque moves, Fox is walking a fine line between being loved for his playfulness or despised for his arrogance. It’s up to the individual what they get from the album, but what’s definitely on show is a man with great vocals who handles a record full of ‘tap your feet’ songs really well.
Album opener Mr Kicks is funky and fun; the bass takes a walk while the cheeky guitars set the tone for the album – it’s full of swagger and seduction, which some will find enticing, and others egotistical. 32-22-36 might sound like a song about bingo, but unfortunately that’s not a case, more of a call-out to the beautiful shape of a woman. The track snakes along with seductive slickness with a classic shady bass-line complemented by Fox’s vocals. This leads to images of the singer flicking a coin in a sharp suit as he saunters down a dark alley.
Fox then attempts to bring his sound back into the future with The Night. The verse is something you could imagine Outkast coming up with, and then mixes this in with obvious Northern Soul influences that really work – an album highlight.
There are certain parts throughout the album that disappointingly do feel a little dated however, and a little hit or miss. A perfect example of this would be two of the covers included on the record; one being The Style Councils Shout to the Top, and the other, Let There Be Love by Nat King Cole. The latter feels rushed with not much effort gone into making any changes, whereas the Style Council cover is a joy to listen to, taking a slowed down and chilled out twist on the track which really works. I Want a Chance to Romance doesn’t really suit the singers voice at all, whereas Peanut Vendor sounds like a rip off of Harry Belafonte’s Jump in the Line (and consequently puts images of BeetleJuice in my head).
The Fantastic Mr Fox is an album of contrasts. It features good rhythms that never get old, and if you like Bobby’s style of singing, chances are you’re gonna love what he’s created. On the other hand it would feel a little too clean-cut for some, missing out on something to make it really stand out. You’re either going to love or hate it in other words, which isn’t a bad thing because some of the greatest works of art can fall into this category. This is definitely an album worth a listen to, just to see if it’s your cup of tea.