I have seen a lot of Tweets about Foxing in the last year, so when I learned they had a new album releasing, I was eager to listen and write about it. The five-piece from St. Louis put out a very good first record, The Albatross, in 2013. On Friday, Triple Crown Records, home to Caspian, released Foxing’s follow-up, Dealer.
Dealer begins with “Weave,” a gorgeous track that builds and builds and builds… until at last clean guitars give way to (just enough!) distortion. The high register of vocalist Conor Murphy calls to mind that of Copeland’s Aaron Marsh, though maybe is a little grittier. “Weave” is the easily the best song on the album and one of the best rock tracks of 2015.
On “The Magdalene,” Murphy sings, “I’m going down… with the rosary,” part of the ongoing post-Catholic sentiment the album expresses. To be clear: I don’t want to minimize someone’s actually painful experience, which the lyrics and music throughout the record seek to express in a heartfelt way. But it’s hard not to hear this and other such lyrics as anti-Catholic, which felt to me a little bit of a tired trope as I listened through.
The third track’s piano and opening lyric—“We danced naked outside of your bathroom”—marks a significant departure from the first two songs and feels like a loss of built-up momentum. What emo kid can’t empathize with the chorus’s “Future love, don’t fall apart”? But the lush and largely upbeat feel of the first tracks gives way to a more morose tone for the middle section of the album. “Night Channels” does end with a nice full-band groove, but tracks 3 through 7 (supple string arrangements of track 6, “Winding Cloth,” notwithstanding) required more patience than expected for at least this listener to engage and keep listening.
The eighth track, “Glass Coughs,” finds the band picking things back up again, especially by the end of the track. On “Eiffel” (the following song) the drums let loose shortly after the two-minute mark, making me want more of that Foxing on future recordings.
Concluding Thoughts and Where to Get It
I don’t think Dealer is an album that will be on steady repeat for me from here on out. But Dealer is getting rave reviews already, even though it just released Friday. And Foxing’s fans are of the die-hard variety. That’s a credit to the band.
For me, I loved the first two tracks and then found the album had a hard time fully re-capturing my interest after the start of the third track. But I’m open to the possibility I’m just missing something, and am willing to give it another chance.
Either way, Foxing is early in their music-making career and has a lot of people excited about what they’re doing. (And I hear their live shows bring an intense energy to the crowd.) So it’s at least worth a listen or two for you to see what you think.
Thank you to the kind folks at Brixton/Triple Crown for early access to the album for review!