Album of the Year: The Furry White Album, Famous Groupies
By Peter Lee On 30 December 2020 In Reviews
Famous Groupies have been busy. In 15 months, they’ve released three albums: their sparkling debut, Rehearsing the Multiverse; a compilation consisting of their debut album and unreleased material, Double Entendre; and their latest release, The Furry White Album.
The Furry White Album continues to cull from the treasure chest of songs lead singer Kirkcaldy McKenzie has at his disposal, and it deservedly receives Hooks and Harmony’s 2020 Album of the Year.
If the title sounds like a Beatles parody, it is — sort of. It really should have been called The Furry Ram, for McKenzie channels Paul McCartney’s life-on-the-farm mentality that is apparent on Ram, his 1971 solo album with wife Linda McCartney. In fact, Famous Groupies have positioned themselves as the Rutles of Paul McCartney, although the comparison is more pastiche than parody.
From the opening vocals on “One Trick Pony,” which sounds just like Wings’ “Getting Closer,” you’re launched into a McCartney tribute. Patrick McKenzie, Kirkcaldy’s grandfather, apparently hung out with the former Beatle during his Wings phase and wrote hundreds of songs himself, many of which capture McCartney’s style perfectly. The result, like their debut album, is like finding a lost Macca album.
The influences are everywhere. McKenzie’s voice recalls Paul in his early solo years. “Bombs Away!” is a more upbeat version of “Monkberry Moon Delight” or “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five,” while “Count to Eight” is a replica of the Beatles’ “All Together Now,” right down to the counting (“One, two, three, four, can I play with you a little more?” vs. Lennon and McCartney’s “One, two, three, four, can I have a little more?”)
This is not to say that the album is not original. It takes a lot of songwriting chops to write in the style of someone so talented — it’s like trying to paint in the style of Rembrandt. The group has created an amazingly beautiful album that brings to mind the best of McCartney’s songwriting. Instead of “Junior’s Farm,” we have “Maggie’s Farm,” complete with a bagpipes solo that brings to mind “Mull of Kintyre.” “Please Stay” is a spot-on version of the Beatles’ “Oh! Darling,” and “The Harmony of Love” sounds like a lost outtake of “Band on the Run.”
But when McKenzie (the grandfather, or grandson?) stretches his wings and flies solo, he shows us the talent inherent on this album. “Little Bird” is perhaps the best song I’ve heard in years. It’s a soft piano-led jaunt that is soothing and full of contentment. And “Bonnie Parker” is an acoustic gem whose sing-song melodies stand out.
That’s where McKenzie’s work excels: The melodies on The Furry White Album are effortless, soaring at times and traveling up and down the scale at others. There is very little harmony on here, which shows that the melodies can stand on their own. Kirkcaldy says his grandfather had “a love affair with the music of Paul McCartney, which I assume is why much of his older material sounds a great deal like Paul’s early work.”
People say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the McKenzies have shown their admiration for one of the greatest songwriters of all time — and done it well. What’s not to love about an album that sounds like Ram?
Back in July 2020, we had released an expanded version of our debut, Rehearsing the Multiverse. Double Entendre features the album "Rehearsing The Multiverse" on Disc One and many new songs as well as remixes and demos from the debut on Disc Two.
Well, this double CD was released as an exclusive for select record shoppes in Japan, so it was not released anywhere else as per our deal with our Japanese distributors. However, we are pleased to announce that on January 1st, 2021 we shall make Disc Two available for digital download. 16 songs in total. Hurrah!
Be sure to visit our site on 01.01.2021 and download Double Entendre Disc Two!
As of 12.15.20 The Furry White Album has been seeding the world and hopefully creating ear worms for ever new listener. So far there have been 3 singles released, and they are: Little Bird, Bombs Away!, and, Ghostwriter. You can click on the "music" page and then on the YouTube icon to take to to our channel where you can hear all these new songs and more. There are 17 new songs to explore on this new one, boasting almost 54 minutes of music!
If you'd like to buy the CD or digital, just click on the Furry Pre Order tab. And to purchase our debut LP, Rehearsing The Multiverse, simply click on the Buy It! tab at the top left. And if you are in Japan, almost every record store will be have both albums in stock by January 13th.
We hope you like the music!
Thoughts and scribbles