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"Rolling Stone on "Fancey""

"That pop music can be feel-good without being saccharine seems to be a point in need of reminder. Leaving a Post-It on the fridge is Todd Fancey, with his breezy, blue-sky debut. "Carry Me" layers sun-drenched Beach Boys' harmonies, bouncy Wurlitzer and the requisite escapist lyrics about leaving town or going into outer space."

"Pitchfork reviews "Schmancey""

Since the days of the Beatles there have been plenty of great marginalized songwriters, sent to the sidelines to stew in their own creative juices until their main meal ticket takes a break (or, in the case of George Harrison and those Beatles, breaks up). New Pornographers albums always make room for a couple of tracks spotlighting Dan Bejar or Neko Case, but those two have their equally prominent solo projects as outlets. Hell, even lead Porno Carl Newman felt the need to release something under his own name. As for rest of the busy bunch, Newman's niece Kathryn Calder plays in the Immaculate Machine, John Collins aids Bejar in Destroyer, Kurt Dahle recently played drums on Chris Walla's solo bow, and Blaine Thurier makes movies.

Which brings us to New Pornographers guitarist Todd Fancey, who has his own solo project, not very creatively but still appropriately enough called Fancey. Fancey's 2004 debut was unabashed in its affection for 1970s soft rock, and listening to it you can hear why there might not be room for Fancey's tracks in the New Pornographers. Unlike many side projects, Fancey sounds nothing like the main gig, save for his love of pop and ear for pleasant chord progressions.

Fancey has already begun work on a third album, but in the meantime there's album number two, Schmancey, which was released last fall. Schmancey offers more of the same AM rock, stuff that goes down smooth but doesn't exactly rock the boat (and we're talking yacht). Still, a few exposures to the tight harmonies of "Lost in Twilight" or the mildly subversive (ELO by way of Steely Dan) "Blue Star"-- a breezy paean to taking drugs-- and you're likely to ask permission to come aboard.

If that boat metaphor seems cheesy, wait until you hear the music, always well-crafted and rife with twisted (if subtle) lyrical details. Heck, songs like the country rock-lite "Fader", "Heaven's Way", or the disco-on-downers "Feels Like Dawn"-- while perfectly produced in glorious state-of-the-art (circa 35 years ago) hi-fi-- sound like they should be played at low volume, the better to replicate an elevator's hidden sound system or the thin murmur of an old transistor radio behind the front desk as you check into a cheap hotel. But the kitsch factor isn't always a bad thing, since Fancey's aforementioned affection is certainly infectious. This is innocent appropriation, short on smarmy irony but long on mellow tunes, music made to be enjoyed, forgotten, then rediscovered years down the line as more effective (and affecting) than the soundtracks to all those long cross country car rides may have seemed at the time. It's thrift-store chic, music that smells a tad of mildew and mold but which brings a smile to your face all the same.

"AllMusic on "Schmancey""

"Fancey" Schmancey -- you know, like Nilsson Schmilsson? Well, not exactly, but Todd Fancey's glorious obsession with '70s soft rock and sunshine pop isn't sullied in the least by a comparison to Nilsson's masterpiece of subversive pop. If anything, Fancey has gone out of his way to up the subversion factor on his second solo effort; the production and arrangements are gloriously user friendly, and Fancey's crew of like-minded musicians (including fellow New Pornographer Kurt Dahle) summon a sound as tight and emphatic as any crew of Los Angeles session heavyweights could deliver in the Golden Age. But between Fancey's eager embrace of an impressive variety of dangerous drugs on "Blue Star," the cheerful doom of "Lost in Twilight," the rocker's avarice of "Whoa," the creepy enthusiasm of "Heaven's Way"'s paean to Christian Conservatism, and the self-explanatory angst of "Karma's out to Get Me," this is album whose engaging surfaces cover a dark side as sure as the front cover artwork shows a sun-dappled garden hovering over the flames of Hell. But on Schmancey, the twist in the tale is part of the fun, and the undertow provides a ying that adds weight to the yang of Fancey's bright and superbly crafted pop tunes, powered by his stylistically malleable guitar work and period-appropriate keyboards. One might think being in one superb indie pop act would be enough, but Fancey's presence in the New Pornographers and on his own records suggest he's becoming a one-man dynasty of upbeat sounds with a nasty undercurrent. -

"Pitchfork on "Fancey""

Welcome back to First Turn-On, where our next guest is Todd Fancey. Todd enjoys New Pornography, raglan, teardrop windows, timeless curves, and burnt sienna. He's been called a throwback, even a kitschist by some elitist duffers. But our audience thinks otherwise, and Todd's here today-- all the way from Vancouver!-- to tell us how it really goes down. Take it away, Todd!

As it turns out, Todd Fancey does have a fetish for the filtered bliss of 1970s pop, strains of which stream through his self-titled debut like Toughskins through the turnstiles at a Stand Back-era April Wine gig. But the New Porn guitarist seems to figure that the best way to celebrate is to reinvent, so he shades his songs in sun-dappled, modernist progressions. "Carry Me" kicks things off with a warm, if slightly melancholic organ tone, but the introspection is quickly chased off by the introduction of a Wurlitzer, Fancey's first-class Beach Boys vocal, and that bouncy-ass arrangement. Still, he admits to not knowing just where he's going: "How pathetic I've become," he sings, the sentiment reflecting the sadness of the song's initial notes. It's this sort of smart songwriting that makes Fancey such a now album. It's referential, yet more mindful of mood than your average bearded 70s van driver/songwriter.

Keys and women are recurring themes on Fancey-- "Dial Jupiter" plays them off moon cheese and fuzz guitar, while "Sunbrite" layers whizzy synths and backup coos over a slight disco beat suggestive of Tahiti 80 or Ivy. Paranoia also continues to percolate here and there, particularly under the pedal steel shimmer of "In Town", but Todd is also content to sing about the simpler things in life: Getting high, for instance, figures mightily into this soft-focus equation. But Fancey is at his best when he's focusing on utterly simplistic immediacy. Would you like to hear a fun, giddily rocking song about drivin' and "Rock and Roll Rhythm"? Perhaps the pleasantly hungover quality of "Saturday Morning" is more your speed. Well, close your eyes, then, and listen to the buttery Todd tones. As he sings, harpists and wah peddle guitarists flicker and appear in the corners of your bedroom, and summer sunlight gleams in your girlfriend's hair.

Of course, wily pop freak that he is, Fancey has to fuck with that fuzzy Friday sex fantasy, following "Saturday Morning"'s buzz with the resigned downer duet of "'Til the Morning Comes". The contemplative organs and pretty synth washes are still here, but there's that melancholy again. "I was better off in bed," Todd begins haltingly, and his girl just asks for a ride home. Still, despite its relationship woe, "Morning Comes" is one of Fancey's stronger songs, beautifully sketching freehand over 70s references and the clean lines of 21st century soft rock.

After all its highs and those little counterbalancing lows, Fancey ends with the sweeter-than-citrus "I'll Be Down". The Wurlitzer is happy again, and there seems to be some talk about doorways to the other side and dosing. As the lilting beat starts to take effect, an accordion fades in from the ether, and the harmonies rise and fall like the breath of an early summer day. Throwback? Hardly. Todd Fancey's just singing about those moments when the world is in focus, and life's as pretty as Miss September '73. -

"AllMusic on "Fancey""

Indie rock fans who are devout readers of fine print will recognize Todd Fancey as one of the less-hyped members of the really super supergroup the New Pornographers. He plays guitar for them, and also played in Limblifter with Kurt Dahle, who's also in the New Pornographers, and all over Fancey's album, too. Speaking of that, Fancey is Todd Fancey's debut record, and fans of his day job will welcome it as they would a family member. More soft rock than the New Pornographers, more fixated on the '70s too, the album is nearly as hook-filled and sounds like it was built in the same factory -- a much sunnier factory -- less prone to songs about alcoholism and more likely to burst out into silly songs about rock & roll ("Rock N' Roll Rhythm"), or outer space ("Dial Jupiter"). Fancey also makes more use of Neko Case, putting Sara Wheeler's angel-sweet vocals on every song. His songwriting doesn't quite measure up to Carl Newman's or Daniel Behar's, but he is certainly no slouch. Fancey builds many of the songs around his electric piano, which gives the record a unique sound. "Carry Me" is a perfect way to kick off the record; it's a breezy power pop tune with an infectious chorus topped by Fancey's soaring vocals. The rest of the record is varied, always melodic, and an often breathtaking tour through '70s pop and more recent indie pop. Along the way there are stops at disco ("Sunbright"), soft rock balladry (the blissful "Strayed Out" on which Fancey and Wheeler harmonize like the dream pairing of Gerry Beckley and Karen Carpenter), mellow country-rock ("In Town"), and indie pop reminiscent of classic Sarah band the Orchids (the wistful "Autumn Music"). Fancey is a very strong debut; its appearance makes the New Pornographers even more impressive, like the 1929 Yankees of indie rock, only with 100 percent less evil empire, and far better songs. -


"Fancey" LP 2004
"Schmancey" LP 2007
"(title TBA)" LP - 2009



Todd Fancey of the new pornographers is about to release his 3rd solo album, but this time he has company. Anastasia Siozos is taking over the lead vocals and Todd is very glad about that. "I'm not the frontman type." Todd freely admits. "With Anastasia I can have fun live which, when it comes to my solo music, is a first!" The tunes on the 3rd Fancey record still give a nod to the '70's but they also gleam with eternal sunshine and youthfullness thanks to Anastasia's voice.

Check out the new songs and see what you think. Todd's first two albums got some really cool reviews, (MW: please create a link to pitchfork/rolling stone/allmusic reviews here.) but something was missing: live performances! Now with Anastasia doing most of the singing Todd is free to produce and play guitar. Now he has a dynamite little singer with a saucy Greek attitude and they are playing shows. Fancey is gearing up to play more shows, developing their live thing and writing more songs.