Charlie Faye & the Fayettes: Charlie Faye & the Fayettes

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Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
(charliefayeandthefayettes.com)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Before pushing play on Charlie Faye’s shag-a-delic salute to all things girl-groups, you may want to brush up on your dance moves. Check out some YouTube videos of Dick Clark’s Dance Party and practice the Shy Tuna, the Camel Walk, the Hippy Hippy Shake, the Escalator and a bunch more shout outs from the B 52s’ “Dance this Mess Around,” as you groove to the swinging harmonies of this Austin based vocal trio.

Singer/songwriter Faye showed strong pop influences on her previous under-the-radar solo outings, but goes full blown swinging 60s AM radio with backing singers Betty Soo and Akina Adderley on this newly found, retro approach. Eleven songs and every one of ‘em sounds like a lost B side of either the Shirelles, the Marvelettes, Leslie Gore or  the Ronettes (hopefully Phil Spector won’t demand royalties for the opening of “Coming Around the Bend” that nicks its lick from “Then He Kissed Me”) that you never heard. From the shimmering, soulful, hip-swiveling, candy coated harmonies of the opening “Green Light” to the Stax styed, Sam & Dave referenced R&B horn riff that propels “Eastside” and the double time Lulu-ish Brit finger popping of “Delayed Reaction,” there isn’t much chance to take a rest on the dance floor before this disc twists to a close barely 30 minutes after it began.

OK, maybe you can slow dance to the reverbed guitar that snakes through the bittersweet “Loving Names,” lay back on the sweet nothings of the Dionne Warwick-styled “Carelessly” and the swaying soul bluesy “One More Chance.” But those are just short and sweet respites between the peppy, perky vibe that makes this such a charming and unusual album. Even if the musical references harken back decades ago, these eleven original tunes are newly written or co-penned by Faye, who has a knack for snappy, sharp hooks that never feel studied or calculated. 

So put on your flared pants, pick up some used go-go boots and let Faye and the Fayettes toss your worries aside. It’s impossible not to be enchanted by one of this year’s freshest, most delightful and all around grooviest releases.

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Neko Case/k.d. lang/Laura Veirs: case/lang/veirs