Music Reviews
Where's My Golden Arm?

Like A Fox Where's My Golden Arm?

(Transit Of Venus) Rating - 8/10

I guess it’s difficult to explore the somewhat over occupied channels of the psychedelic T-H-seas these days without running into a slew of obvious comparisons:  The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Flaming Lips, Pink Floyd, The Zombies…etc.  It doesn’t help that the first song (A Feeling That Launched A Thousand Wars) on Where’s My Golden Arm?, second album by Philadelphia psych band Like A Fox, seems to lift its first melody directly from the dusty, 40 year-old grooves of Happiness Is A Warm Gun, potentially subjecting them to writhe in the pit with all the other sitar-wielding, bloodshot wannabes.  Maybe a momentary lapse in judgment?  Maybe a subtle homage? 

Having said that, Like A Fox is an interesting amalgamation of sci-fi induced intergalactic wonder and guitar riff fundamentals 101 hard rock.  Singer/guitarist Jay Laughlin and crew have crafted an 11-song pop album that owes as much to the aforementioned psych bands as it does the raw clap-clap garage of Iggy Pop’s New Values, or the more synthesized aspects of Talking Heads’ Speaking In Tongues, a point perfectly illustrated with the fast rock-to-slow concentration of Internal/External, or the upbeat Night Person

Though the synthesizer plays a fairly pivotal role throughout the album, the layering of rock riffs over acoustic rhythm guitar proves to be the its strongest feature, allowing for the thick churn of marching track, Better Bring A Bomb, or the lovely stretch of string play that carries Gold.  The loud riffs play heavier with the following track, On The Way, and then to monster proportions with Time Stands Still, getting some energy out before the mesmerizing Since He Was Born kicks in, sounding like a spacey variation of The Midnight Rider.

Heard The Shot boasts a decent guitar solo but seems the only instance where the synthesizer sort of takes the spotlight, the results of a somewhat sleepy backdrop.  Been Sitting Here takes its time and slowly builds into some really good old time rock n’ roll. 

Saving the best for last, Just A Light Hit takes a few liberties with Pink Floyd’s cosmic mellow but punches up the formula with a beautiful rhythm section and some of the best synthesizer work on the album.  It’s the song I consistently come back to, immediately drawn in by its lush, syncopated opening and then the rising bass-line that peeks out from under the subtle wall of acoustic guitar.  In some ways, Just A Light Hit is the album’s real psych track as it’s the one that seems to evoke anything ethereal or ponderous.  Fantastic song.

Where’s My Golden Arm?, despite its rightful place in the psych category, is a rock album first and foremost, and it doesn’t disappoint.  Equal parts experimental and energetic, Like A Fox come up with an updated variation on the psychedelic genre, and not a direct rehashing, clearing themselves from the murky depths of imitation which is often said to be a form of flattery.  Other times, it shows a clear lack of imagination.