There's dumb, and then there's self-consciously stupid—a trait that can be endearing in the right hands (Beastie Boys, Andrew W.K., Spinal Tap) no matter how annoying it is coming out of the speakers. On the surface—and that's really as deep as it gets—Introducing Foxy Shazam finds Cincinnati post-screamo quintet Foxy Shazam aiming for the latter. There's the sheer dumbness of the band name, for one, but there's also the intentionally ham-fisted cover art, the phony At Budokan-style applause that opens the album, and the fact that Introducing is actually album No. 2 for these guys. Irony died with grunge, sure, but we get it.
Unfortunately, once the music kicks in, Introducing proves there's more to nailing stupidity than simply wearing a dunce cap. Imagine, for instance, downloading a song like "The Rocketeer" or "Ghost Animals" (to name but two in an album where everything's samey) without the benefit of context-through-packaging: Is this a weak Blood Brothers outtake (all tone-deaf vocals, angular rhythms, and piano-led racket) or, God forbid, Panic! At The Disco in hardcore mode? The short answer—"Who cares?"—is the only one that matters for those who actually want a connection between an album's songs. Foxy Shazam's shtick assumes that no one does, and the shallow, marketing-fueled approach to music-making ultimately reveals the group's unamusing Emperor's clothing.