Barak Shpiez leaves town for L.A., releases Beware Fashionable Women 

Beware Fashionable Women
Beware Fashionable Women


According to the curious, self-penned press release, Beware Fashionable Women is "four guys who look exactly like any other four guys you would find in a local ma and pa music shop or record store." The veracity of this statement and location of this homestyle record store aside, BFW is the creation of Pittsburgher Barak Shpiez, former soundman at Brillobox and recording engineer for several local bands, including CK9. Now based in Los Angeles, Shpiez and BFW have released their debut effort, available through iTunes and other online retailers.

The self-titled album, light at about half an hour, offers sharp, complex power pop, refreshingly devoid of garage swagger or indie pretension. You'd probably never object to the melody-driven pop songs that BFW deliver, even if some tend to fly out of your head the moment they end. The guitar work is precise, if a bit scattered: Wandering surf rock will suddenly give way to third-wave ska bounce; '90s alternative riffs will reign in one song only to be replaced by pop simplicity in the next. Vocally, Shpiez's voice is nothing if not pleasant. His lyrics do need some work, though; all those careful four-part harmonies seem wasted on lines like "I didn't know you were so fragile / but I'm the asshole / I didn't think you'd break so easily."

But two of the album's ten tracks are particularly memorable: the harmony soaked, Beach Boys-style "I'll Be the DJ" and the careful yet infectious "Found." Both of those tracks are catchy, creative and hold up well to repeat listens. An album full of songs this good would be irresistible.

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