RIGHT SAID FRED/Exactly!: SPAZ reviews the new album!

     Right Said Fred may be considered a ‘one hit wonder’ in the U.S., but I’m here to tell you that they are much more than that. Their worldwide hit “I’m Too Sexy” has become a slice of Pop Culture and is still used in advertisements, films and TV shows. The mere mention of the song title will inspire people to spontaneously sing a line or two out loud no matter who else is around.  However, as I once wrote over at allmusic.com: “If you’ve never heard anything by Right Said Fred apart from ‘I’m Too Sexy,’ then you are missing out on one of the best dance-pop bands of this generation. To base your opinion of the band on that one song is like judging The Beatles entire catalog on a song like ‘Yellow Submarine.’ Sure, it’s fun and catchy, but there is so much more to the band than that one piece of pop fluff.” In other words, if you haven’t  heard anything else by RSF, then it is time to change that.

     While brothers Richard and Fred Fairbrass have continued to create new music since their 1991 debut, very few of their records have been released in the U.S. However, in Europe, that is another matter. “Deeply Dippy” hit #1 in the UK. Their 2002 single “Stand Up (For The Champions)” has become a sports anthem in Germany and elsewhere. Many of their singles are now club classics and most of them have been radio hits as well.  “I’m Too Sexy” may have started the ball rolling but RSF continues to move forward, creatively, and EXACTLY!, their first studio release in six years, brings the past, present and future together in one nice little package. And it is quite fabulous.

     RSF may technically be a ‘Dance’ act, but they are really all about the songs – big, beautiful Pop songs with hooks that stick in your head for days on end. This album drives that point home with great choruses that touch the head, heart and feet. From storming Dance gems like glorious album opener “Me And You” and “American Girl” to Pop delights like “Sweet Treats” (the first single) and “Silicon Journey”, RSF has served up a heady platter of catchy, clever songs that will proudly take their place next to their exceptional back catalog. Musically, EXACTLY! successfully mixes classic Pop with House, Funk, Soul, Rock and Electropop. Its like a smorgasbord for the ears!

     Richard and Fred are smart men. They know their strengths – strong songwriting, a clever sense of humor and a love of making music – yet they also know that their fans don’t want them to stray too far off the RSF path. So, for this album, the band combines all of the key elements of their past without recycling any ideas. “Angels And Devils” recalls “Deeply Dippy” – with its jaunty beat, dominant acoustic guitars and a sassy, brassy horn section – but is definitely its own beast. On the other hand, “Snap (My Reverie)” is unlike anything in RSF’s catalog – a simple yet majestic (and emotional) pop Epic.  Taken as a whole, EXACTLY! is one of RSF’s finest albums. Take it apart one by one and you’ll realize just how varied their musical canvas is. Quite stunning, actually. An album well worth the wait, this is definitely one of 2017’s finest releases thus far. Even though it is early in the year, it is going to be a tough one to beat!

     And don’t even think about it: you are NOT too sexy for EXACTLY!

Keep on truckin’!

Stephen SPAZ Schnee