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Fojimoto | Don't Let Your Baby Down

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The core of the group—guitarist/vocalist and erstwhile St. Louisan Marwan Kanafani, drummer Jon Fojtik, and bassist Ryan Waggoner—play with a bit more swagger on this release, opening up their connections to both Americana and power pop, and melding the two in a really nice whole.

 

On a couple stops in St. Louis during the past year-and-change, Fojimoto proved a reasonably good live band, the kind of act that, on a given night, can burn down a small club with a combination of sheer enthusiasm, energy, and yes, songs. Their one album to date, Just Now Finding Out, lived up to the name: a group still searching for an exact identity in the studio. Combining the band’s live passion and the tunefulness of their best songwriting would be the next trick.

Luckily, the band’s sophomore effort, an EP titled Don’t Let Your Baby Down, goes a good long way to making that a reality. The core of the group—guitarist/vocalist and erstwhile St. Louisan Marwan Kanafani, drummer Jon Fojtik, and bassist Ryan Waggoner—play with a bit more swagger on this release, opening up their connections to both Americana and power pop, and melding the two in a really nice whole.

On some tracks, such as “Code: Orange,” one side of the equation wins out; this rocking pop song will have you reaching for your vinyl Shoes and Only Ones albums before the night’s out. The opener, “Love Is Gold,” and the follow-up, “I Know Why Virginia,” both settle into a nice, country-tinged shuffle before segueing into poppier choruses. Figure on good harmonies throughout; the band’s hallmark remains.

How’s this for a bit of pop psychology? The band’s first effort was packaged in a CD of light blues and grays and the stylistic feel of the cover was reflected in a relatively subdued disc. This one, though, is colorful on the outside—all reds and yellows—and the music inside is a brighter, poppier, much more cohesive blend from Fojimoto. This time they get it right, with a lean, mean recording that doesn’t waste a track. Nice.


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