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Although the title of Faux Paw's latest extended play is Cocktail, you might be better off opting for your favorite local brew or three and chasing it with whiskey. The West Lafayette quartet litter their new release with some mild-mannered Americana throughout, but they continually amp up the volume so listeners end up howling and stomping along to the so-called "bummer party music" of Cocktail by the end of its 19 minutes.
Faux Paw's sound can be attributed to a heavy helping of Wilco, Steely Dan, and the like, but I'd also throw in the noisey anthems of bands like Wavves and FIDLAR along with the old soul of The Black Keys. In fact, a variety of differing influences helps make Cocktail one of the more interesting rock and roll albums you'll hear out of the Central Indiana right now. Opening number "The Jig" begins with dueling, twangy guitar riffs and a lively beat before delivering an exhilarating bridge that sounds like summer. "EZG" is the type of infectious song that will gets into your bloodstream and never leaves (and showcases Gordon Wantuch's sweeping and intricate guitar work), while the laid-back vibe of "Boxer Brief" shows off some of Garret Nay's keen wordplay.
Cocktail's undeniable highlights occur in the middle and end, with "That's Something" and "Corn" highlighting the very best of Faux Paw. The former is a three-and-a-half minute melodic screecher that thanks some higher power for Neil Young, while "Corn" wraps up the show with Faux Paw at their alt-country best – layering all the qualities that make Cocktail the rousing success it is. The six-track effort finds the perfect balance between precision and chaos, as Faux Paw brings an attitude to to this recording that elevates it above 2011's debut, Too Close is The New Far. Cocktail is one of the coolest releases of the summer.