Epoxies - Stop The Future (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Stop The Future (2005)

Fat Wreck Chords

My lasting impression of the 80's (aside from some excellent cartoons based on toy lines) was that it was a pretty silly time musically. The things that were burnt into my then-adolescent brain were the likewise cartoony imagery of bands like Devo or Adam And The Ants, so the recent trend of holding up the 80's as some great untapped well of influence has always seemed a bit revisionist to me. It all seems too sterile, too scrubbed and sanitized by face-saving and dreadfully self-conscious indie sponges. The Epoxies, to their eternal credit, embrace the decade by drawing from its sense of kitschy fun, and that's what ultimately sets them apart (and above) all that trendy mainstream dross.

If there's one thing that's driving me crazy as I dredge the net for opinions of Stop The Future, it's that people are lumping them in with the aforementioned dance-rock trend. That's both lazy journalism and flat out wrong. Far from chasing indie rock glory, the Epoxies have gestated for years in the brilliant pool of punk rock that's been (not so) quietly emerging from the Pacific Northwest. These are peers of the Spits, the Briefs, the Minds, Jeffie Genetic and the late Exploding Hearts. The community of bands that revolves around the Seattle/Portland axis continues to deliver some of the freshest, energetic and most pure-of-spirit punk rock in the US.

To see a staple of that scene brought up in the same breath as the Killers and the Bravery just makes me want to tear my hair out.

If you've been on board since 2002's self-titled effort, then you'll find many familiar elements in play on Stop The Future (yes, even the yodelling). FM Static's synths are still front and centre, interplaying with Roxy's android Debbie Harry vocals. Comparisons to Devo's monotone and the Rezillos' pop energy are inevitable and deserved. Make no mistake though that there's a strong punk band under all the retro-futuristic wrapping, and the Epoxies' song structures aren't too far off from the Descendents at times. "Radiation" is one of several punk wave rockers that make up the backbone of Stop The Future. Among these is a high-energy treatment of the Scorpions' "Robot Man," and the band makes the song their own. "Everything Looks Beautiful On Video" reins in the tempo a bit and marks a cool throwback to that brief, optimistic time when MTV wasn't a four-letter word. The band experiments with their songwriting on tracks like the choppy "Struggle Like No Other" and the instrumental title track. The album-capping march "Toys" is simply a beautiful song and maybe the most authentic new wave track the Epoxies have ever attempted.

Like their fellow Dirtnap alumni, there's almost an innocent charm to the Epoxies music. They're building on that mythical early time when punk rock represented something more hopeful: a deconstruction and revitalization of the pop model. It's that period of genuine promise before sad, cynical bastards overanalyzed things and spoiled the party for everyone.