Fancy Hair Dragon – On Golden Sand

Fancy Hair Dragon
On Golden Sand

Quite possibly the worst band name and worst cover art that I have ever seen. Boy, I didn’t get a good impression of this band from the start. I was expecting something so amateurish and geeky that it would barely be digestible. Instead, Fancy Hair Dragon are almost a little too digestible.
Sounding like an extremely poppy punk band, Fancy Hair Dragon have all the pop hooks, the punk three-chord guitar lines, and none of the edge that made a band like The Ramones so definitive and fun. That’s not to say that these songs aren’t fun. They’re just almost too rose-colored, too benign. Not much of a punk fan to begin with, I still like a little edge, a little attitude to my punk, but these guys are out to bounce around, throw out a little They Might Be Giants-esque pop hook, and play slightly different versions of the same song as 10 songs in 19 minutes. Ready, set, go.
The best songs here are the ones that have a bit more rock quality than pop to them. Like “Down in the Cellar,” which sounds like a playful 1950’s pop band channeling Joey Ramone. There’s some edge to the guitar that’s completely negated by the “la-la-la” backing vocals. The guitar solo on “Breakaway” brings to mind Frankie Avalon and beach parties, while “Nefilim” is a playful track about aliens with some suitably spooky synthesizers thrown in over a danceable pop song. The band talks about girl troubles on the teasingly bratty “She,” and the clap-along “Outta There” sounds like a surf-rock-ish punk song. We get more Ramones-style punk/pop on “Meet Again,” acoustic guitar and piano (of all things) on the catchy and stand-out “Technology,” and finally a purely pristine pop song to end things off before you even noticed they began with “Sadies in the Sand.”
Fancy Hair Dragon is a project of Dave Miller of the band Odd Numbers, and I know little more about these guys. Straight-ahead pop with hints of punk and playful nerdiness thrown in, you can’t possibly say these songs aren’t slightly pleasing. I just think, with a little discretion, they could have turned a mildly amusing and very forgettable album into something with a little more substance. But who know, maybe these guys weren’t going for substance. Maybe sheer fun and geekiness were the goals here, and in that they somewhat succeeded.