Full of Fancy - Sweet Baby Jesus (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Full of Fancy

Sweet Baby Jesus (2007)

Whoa Oh

Full of Fancy couldn't have picked more appropriate cover art. Playing candy-coated female-fronted pop-punk of the Ramones / Screeching Weasel / Queers lineage, this girl-girl-guy trio throw down with 11 songs that all sound pretty similar, but are all pretty decent.

Throughout the album the guitars stay clean-channel a lot of the time, giving off a garage feel then going for the fuzz at crucial moments. The girl vocals are sweet but not too sweet, packing a little punch into each melody. The two ladies share leads and harmonize often, with Kim Deal rightfully an influence tone-wise. Sometimes, however, it seems they push through a half-baked verse melody by shout-singing just to get to the chorus hook. In "Forget Me Now" things get downright mean, even in the delivery of "Send me flowers to wear / In my hair" to which I would add "…dammit!" Things end in a tizzy with guttural vocals and a shriek to cap it off. "Hot Tub" ends with a great team-scream of "Are you gonna save my heart?!"

The group doesn't believe in bridges, solos, or extended endings, with nearly half the songs here expiring before the two-minute mark, and only two songs making it past the three-. While music of this style typically doesn't call for much elaboration, during the best tunes I found myself wishing for some stretching of melodic motives. I found my favorite in "Lads in Training" (though it was written by someone outside the band) with its slightly slower tempo and jangly verse/distorted chorus, with that nice high vocal jump in the hook and silly "hey dude lyrics. Turns out this one does have a bridge, going the relative minor route and sounding a bit oldies radio, and I dig it; too bad that only lasts about 14 seconds. "30 Days" has one of the catchiest choruses with great harmonies, sounding like a lost `60s hit: "I really miss you, miss you, miss you / I really wanna kiss you, kiss you, kiss you," yet they only give it to us twice. Obviously, lyrically we're not talking rocket science here and that was never the point, but songs like "Sounds Like a Plan" seem to have about five different words and that's including ‘oh' and ‘yeah.'

Sweet Baby Jesus is a fun teeth-rotting time, for sure. It's nice for quick little jolt, zipping through what they call a full length in 24-minute EP time. But I doubt I'll be revisiting this too often, for when I need a pop-punk fix I'll likely opt instead for more solid or classic releases of bands mentioned above.