Nearer My God
Even if something ain’t broke, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should just recycle it over and over. Amidst an album full of great sonic experimentation and powerful performances, Foxing decidedly let their songs continuously play on the same dynamics. As they break new ground and take alt-rock in a bunch of fun directions, they drag their own album down from within. Though there’s a lot of fun to be had on this record, Foxing assure it stands better as a compilation rather than a start-to-finish album.
In its blend of pianos and electronic hums, “Grand Paradise” creates a haunting ambiance that its ecstatic vocals contrast powerfully. While it really makes you wait for it, the brutality in the drums and guitars as the song picks up its pace are so intense you’ll be on board immediately. There’s a much more melodically playful energy to “Slapstick” with every refrain carrying this sparse bounce to it. Once the rest of the band enters however, it all feels like a spontaneous current of sound that’s organically moving together. Though the light openings become rather commonplace by “Lich Prince,” Foxing seem to centre their songs more towards the emotions than the rhythms. In this sense, the slow trickle of different feelings that grow throughout the song maintain and make it a constantly invigorating track to hear.
“Gameshark” is one of the more frantic tracks here, with random vocals and a growling bass really upping the energy compared to anything else around it. As it builds with post-punk fury and almost anxiety-pressing levels of sample use, this track is a feverish rush of life. Their most direct pop comes on “Nearer My God” while their vocals and guitar take a spirited flight to flesh out an already lush song. Foxing attempt to take us through a sonic journey on “Five Cups” letting loose endless sounds and subtle beats to tell a story in its nine-minute run-time. As fun as this kind of experiment is, it’s not sustainable in the way it plays out its long break and ultimately serves as a niche piece in the album.
There’s such a sprawling force to the string arrangements on “Heartbeats” it’s truly magical to hear them tumble in and out of the arrangements as the song goes on. This fast-and-loose kind of writing gives you so much to focus on before the vocals even start that the song is a wonder to hear.
Despite the interplay between electronics and pianos on “Trappe in Dillard’s” however, it can’t muster the same sense of swelling emotions or surprise. Though it does show off a lot of overwhelming spirit, there’s little to make you buy into it unfortunately.
“Bastardizer” really tests listeners with its barebones and borderline cliché intro, but as the vocals gain strength, the punch of bass and drums kick the song forward. By really setting up their story, the guttural releases and fierce screams later in the song feel unbelievable. Though it does feel as if it’s coming off a completely different record, “Crown Candy” takes a much more angular approach to its slow-burning rock. Every pre-chorus is this unnerving beast that is instantly memorable and hysterical in its cacophony.
In the swirling drum-lines of “Won’t Drown” there’s a new anger and sense of pain that courses out of Foxing like never before. With strings bringing a sense of worry, there’s so much tension before the first chorus that you’ll be begging them to drop it. While Foxing sink back to their classic writing schemes for “Lambert” the neon sheen to their guitars offers a more futuristic sound to balance out a structure we’re all too familiar with.
Words by Owen Maxwell
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