By Sarah Bennett
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Misfits individually yet a skilled assemblage together, members of Fuji Minx traveled the globe in search of an outlet to express their creative vision. Donning top hats, the band debuted their eccentric three-act story as an equally eccentric 20-song album called Users Cheaters Theatres. With her shock of platinum hair and angel wings (or a kimono . . . or giant, bug-eyed, red-lensed sunglasses), front woman Greta Valenti (vocals, electric guitar) adds an unexpected dose of flamboyance to the otherwise motley crew of John Fry (acoustic and altered-acoustic guitars), Rob Zero (keys, synth, effects) and Noel McMurray (drums). Users Cheaters Theatres tells the tale of four rebels who set out to fight the world, but then take on the more daunting task of confronting the demons within. "The concept went from global to eternal," Fry says in the band's bio, "boiling down to a tug of war between who we are and who we want to be and the conflicting feelings we all have in that struggle."
The path to self-discovery can stretch across numerous planes, as does Users Cheaters Theatres; it ranges from theatrical synth-pop to quirkily seductive acoustic rock. Valenti's strained wailing and quipping are the only constants, while the three eye-linered musicians behind her (plus her own forays on the electric guitar) alternate from somber to spastic. Act I's "Free Lorraine" begins as a dual-guitar '90s rock (think something Republica might have done) before the chorus seamlessly slides into '80s new-wave dance by adding a synth line and switching up the tempo. "You Taught Me Well" from Act II is a pensive whisper of a song, while Act III's "Dumb" displays Fuji Minx's downtempo, piano-loving, showtune side.
"We placed the songs in an order that tells a powerful story," explains Valenti. "We're trying to do something you haven't seen before."
For more information, visit www.myspace.com/fujiminx.
Attention Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, along with your vital contact info and a decent high-resolution photo (plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only,OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or just be lazy and e-mail your MySpace link to email@example.com.