By: Lachlan R. Dale
Foxes | facebook | bandcamp |
Released on July 17, 2015 via Dog Knights Productions
My first taste of Foxes came when the video for their new single ‘Stomp The Earthworm‘ hit my Facebook feed. At the time I wasn’t quite sure what I was listening to, but I knew it was something special. The track opens with a primitive rock beat beneath a tremolo picked guitar riff soaked in reverb. The vocalists screams immediately reminded me of La Dispute, whose album Wildlife I had spun endlessly back in 2012.
The chorus comes alive with a blazing psychedelic melody, then we’re back into the verse for another dose of angsty, introspective lyricism. But just when you’re expecting a second chorus, Foxes take you down a hallucinatory spiral and into a tense section of swirling guitar noise and restrained drum work. The mood slowly builds and intensifies, peaking as the vocalist screams repeatedly over screeching feedback:
WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST. WE’RE LOST.
Then the whole thing gives way into a gorgeous, shimmering psychedelic breakdown. The effect of the release is intense. Even now, after twenty odd listens, it still hits me like the onset of a panic attack – or one those moments of heartbreaking clarity when you realise you’ve just destroyed something irreparable and irreplaceable.
From there the song gently floats away on a silver sea; a moment of space and peace after the chaos.
What a song! ‘Stomp The Earthworm’ blends psychedelic elements over a screamo/post-punk core, but played with a delicate sense of tension and texture that one would usually associate with post-rock. The track’s impact is heightened by the earthy, organic production of Ron Pollard over at Studio Sleepwalker’s Dread.
I wasted no time in seeking out Foxes’ new album in its entirety.
Despite my enthusiasm for the single, Organic Vessels is a mixed bag. At weaker points the band can sound like an echo of La Dispute or Touché Amoré (and I’m not convinced we need more of those) – but at their peak, Foxes bring an entirely new take on “post-hardcore” as a style. Their progressive approach approach to songwriting allows them introduce elements of progressive rock, post-punk, shoegaze, and psychedelia as needed.
Take the song ‘Ossuary’, which opens with a syncopated blast beat over a tremolo picked riff soaked in reverb – that section wouldn’t be out of place on an experimental blackgaze record. Or ‘Cosmic Ballet’, which closes on a vocal shuddering with delay trails over the top of a pounding, odd-metered rhythm that brings to mind The Mars Volta. Or the pounding, miserable, menacing post-metal crescendo of the album’s final track, ‘The Wind and the Wallow’.
These are the moments that have me excited about Foxes’ future. At times the stylistic departures can feel a little tacked on, but the band’s willingness to experiment is intoxicating. They have certainly succeeded in getting my attention.
Organic Vessels comes across as something of a transition record; it doesn’t flow perfectly, nor does it form a coherent whole – but it does demonstrate the promise of these Perthian post-punkers. I can’t wait for Foxes’ next release; I can feel they have something truly special in store.