The Foxymorons

Hesitation Eyes (Heatstroke)

In the Grand Critical Discussion of early-'90s albums, Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque tends to get the shaft. Musicologists are far more likely to slaver over Nirvana's searing riffs while paying little note to TF's sugar-sharp harmonies, glorious hooks and Big Star revivalism. Not the Foxymorons. The Nashville/Mesquite duo's third album, Hesitation Eyes, is a lovely tip-of-the-hat to the Glaswegian power poppers along with bands they influenced, from Summerteeth-era Wilco to Matthew Sweet. The dark and finely tuned songs are written, alternately and over a distance, by Jerry James and David Dewese, natives of Mesquite who met at church camp (Dewese now lives in Nashville). Songs like the title track are breezy, imminently listenable music for adults, but melancholy courses beneath the shimmering surface: "I've tried to make things fit, but they never do. I've tried to take the easy way. I'm still in love, do you love me, too?" James asks in a song called "I'm Still in Love." Mixed by Matt Pence at Echolab Studios, Hesitation Eyes is an album about bittersweet endings, about the sting of nostalgia, about breakups and all that other bullshit. It isn't hip or edgy or cool; it's just genuine and a little bit heartbroken, which is far better anyway.

 
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