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Album Review
Fantasy Footwork

Fantasy Footwork
by Golden Axe

JFBS, Stink Magnetic, Crystal Magic

Review Date
Reviewed by
Ryan Eyers

Blending a mix of Krautrock, chiptune and electro pop with a heady dose of the mildly insane energy and relentlessness that is their trademark, Golden Axe are not the sort of band you go to for emotional depth or brilliant musicianship. Remember those iconic sidescrolling arcade games from the 80s? Remember their frenetic, cartoonish soundtracks that managed to keep you smiling even if you were getting slayed? Golden Axe do. And they’re here to remind you of their awesomeness.

With opener ‘Psypirates’, Fantasy Footwork quickly establishes its go-to formula that it exploits for most of the album: plastic beats, overlaid with spaced-out synths and filtered vocals that sway in and out of focus, accented with blips, bloops and handclaps that add to the trippy, otherworldly atmosphere. This results in a record that’s less an ‘album’ album than one more like those old PEZ dispensers: a collection of fruity, sickly sweet sugar drops that all taste exactly the same but dammit if they don’t make you feel good. Songs like ‘Cat Master’ ‘Telephone’ and lead single ‘Free Time’ do little to differentiate themselves from one another, but also produce the same giddy effect of an ear-to-ear grin and compulsively awkward dance moves.

What’s most important to keep in mind with Fantasy Footwork then is the way you approach it when listening. Don’t come at it hoping for an expansive, richly rewarding listening experience that changes the way you see music and unveils new layers at each listen. You will be disappointed. In fact, it’s probably better not to listen to this album in its entirety very often, as it will probably drive you insane. Instead, make use of the album for what it is: dollops of short-term psychedelic highs sure to give you a boost and remind you of the days when all that mattered was getting to the next level or finding another 20 cent coin. Need a pick-me-up on a rainy day, something to get the blood flowing or just feel like wearing a goofy, carefree grin? Then Golden Axe is your bag, baby.

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