Menu | Rating System | Guest Book
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
(Older reviews archived alphabetically by artist name.)

  Rochester Fosgate  
  Rochester Fosgate  
  Smooth Excavator  
Release Date:
  early 2004  
Reviewed by:

Rochester Fosgate is not the name of a band, but rather is the alter-ego of musician Kevin Fullerton. He's based out of Seattle, apparently, and plays light Indie pop with a quirkiness about it. His music as heard on this self-titled recording, is slightly acoustic although it does have some force about it. And although the afore-mentioned quirkiness gets a bit thick at times, Rochester Fosgate is a fun album.

There aren't really any liner notes to the album, but I think that Fullerton/Fosgate pays most, if not all, of the instruments. And, if he did in fact do that, I have to compliment the guy. Normally if there's only one person in a band you hear various mistakes, bad mixes, and missed notes. But this album sounds really nice, as if he were indeed a full one man band. In this sense, it reminds me a bit of the time I saw The Lonesome Organist in concert, although this is a bit lighter in tone and less raucous by nature.

The album begins with Rotate Freely, a little semi-acoustic number with brushed drumming, a pretty bassline, and alternating higher/lower male vocals (as if there were two singers) on the chorus. It sounds a bit like some retro acoustic singer meeting The Dream Academy, albeit without a xylophone, but you get the idea. Parents' Mistakes comes next, and features a country-esque, yet light, psychedelia feel, as if perhaps one of the old Elephant Six bands had unplugged, and gone West. The voice is very prominent in the mix, and, at one point, the dual vocal lines (which again I think are both Fosgate) try to harmonize with each other. And they almost get it right….which, if you think of it as someone attempting to harmonize with himself, is just off enough to be endearing. And cute.

There, I said it. I hate to the use the word, because it doesn't have any real meaning. Cute is a word I reserve for small kittens, and…well, that's about it, except, perhaps, slightly earnest Indie Rock musicians. And Rochester Fosgate, with the stray harmonies, happy tone, and fairly light instrumentation just screams earnest Indie Rock musician. So, it's cute. And that is neither ironic, nor an insult.

Anyway, with that little rant aside, the rest of Rochester Fosgate continues in mostly the same vein. Black Asphalt is another country-esque tune that reminds me vocally of The Kingston Trio (thanks, Mom and Dad!). In contrast, One Way Streets comes across more like early The Wedding Present, albeit with an acoustic focus and a summery pop sound. And Geologic Time bridges the gap between acoustic 60s style singer/songwriter and the more psychedelic work of the 70, with guitar arpeggios that could recall Stairway to Heaven. It's also the one song when you can clearly hear the transition between the higher and local vocal lines

Of course, not all the songs on the album are equally good. Hold 'Em just seems a little blah after the fun of the first four songs. More importantly, My Friend Greg takes quirkiness to an extreme, with the lower vocals sounding suspiciously gothy and drone-y as he repeats the line regarding, "my friend Greg." Finally, Arm and Hesher just doesn't quite match the tone of the rest of the album. It's more of a 70s rock tune, which of course led me at first to think that perhaps this entire album is an elaborate homage to the career of Marc Bolan. But that's another rant, with which I won't bother you. But I have to say the rock thing is completely out of place of this album.

Still, in the end, Rochester Fosgate is a oddly unexpectedly good album. It doesn't necessarily grab or charm you on the first listen. But as you sit there, with it going in the background, you'll find it hummable and pleasant. And if you decide to examine it more closely, you'll find things more charming and…yes….cute. So, it might not be the best thing you've heard all year, but it is a really fun diversion.

Related Links:

none available


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Album Review menu.