Music Notes: Stuck on The Epoxies

1990 never happened for The Epoxies, Portland's wonderful synth-punk quintet. Frontwoman Roxy Epoxy and synth player FM Static lead the band and Viz Spectrum (guitar), Shock Diode (bass), and Ray Cathode (drums) round it out. They play 1980s style rock and the play it GOOD! If you like Blondie and The Cars, you will love The Epoxies.

I haven't seen them live yet but I'm hooked on their music. A few weeks ago I bought a sampler of new local music which contained an Epoxies track. That did it. My neighbors thought I'd finally lost it because I was wandering around in a daze mumbling something about a "bathroom stall". I ran out and bought the Epoxies' two full-length CDs, "The Epoxies" and "Stop the Future".

Let me tell you what's really great about this band: they are incredible songwriters, and they turn out consistently great songs. Not just a couple of cool numbers in amongst a bunch of lame tracks. These guys have more hooks than a square mile of Velcro. They are catchy - not just catchy, but "massively catchy. We're talking can't-get-a-song-out-of-your-head-for-three-weeks-straight, serotonin-re-uptake-inhibiting, brain-aneurysm-inducing catchy" as Bill Bullock of Three Imaginary Girls puts it.

Impeccably retro, the Epoxies seem to feel right at home in their Eighties milieu. They deal with Cold War themes ("Need More Time" and "We're So Small"), alienation ("Stop Looking at Me" and "Synthesized"), and television ("Struggle Like No Other" and the splendid "Everything Looks Beautiful on Video"). But the 80's shtick, like the electronic sound itself, embraces a deeply passionate, romantic core.

Even among a ton of great tracks, "Toys" is in a class by itself. "A bonafide jaw-dropper" says Three Imaginary Girls, " an irresistible melody and a strong vocal performance", says PlaybackSTL; "simply a beautiful song", says Punk News. Go listen to it, says I, and find out what they're raving about.

Oh, and speaking of the eighties, happy birthday to Debbie Harry of Blondie, who just turned 60 (yes, sixty) and is on tour.