Foxing ‘The Albatross’ Album Review

Foxing are a band difficult to specify; difficult to narrow down into any characteristics of any genre. With atmospheric effects, duelling  clean guitars, buckets of reverb and trumpet sections prominent in a handful of their songs, they are also difficult to narrow down into the typical band. The only way to really describe them is a dash of emo mixed with a couple spoons of progressive as well as a hint of the typical ballad thrown in, a weird mixture I know. So how would their album with all these traits come across to the standard listener?

The first track Bloodhound, is orchestral based with choirs including many post-studio effects like reverb, echo and slight phasers. It’s a soft and delicate way to open the album with incredibly stylistic features prominent as well as very inventive harmonies playing off of the back of the lead singers melody. The calm before the storm?

Inuit then follows with a very different vibe. Very harsh vocals, flurrying guitars and innovative drum sequences that open the first section with an almost aggressive impact on the listening. The section after is also very out of the typical mixing almost funk style bass with jazz style harmonies and chords. The vocal melody remains harsh and rough but it works well; it’s a completely different sound to anything you may of heard before. The song flows from part to part with no issue and feels conjunct to listen to which is usually very difficult to achieve when combining so many progressive areas of music together.

The medic is different again with the guitar technique shifting to tapping and the vocals becoming very reliant on a melody full of falsetto. The song progresses again though with  section to section full of variation yet still sounding appropriate when placed together. The song is so rich with texture, full of layers of different instrumentation playing poly-phonically against each other; from a musical stand point the composition is almost unbelievable. The thought gone into this track and the attention to detail is definitely worth while.

The song follows with roughly 40 seconds or so of atmospheric effects which I usually class as lazy song-filler-song writing but it works on an album like this and especially with a track like Rory to follow it up.

So that’s just it, Rory follows next and from a personal view, the best song on the album. With orchestral accompaniment, the song sounds out-worldly and larger than life, like if you combined the best of composer with the best band in progressive rock; it works unbelievably well. With a simple yet dominant piano hook alongside again a simplistic drum progression, the song seems basic on early listening. But the layers upon layers added including harmonic guitars playing different melodies, a vocal melody that bounces from soft to harsh with fluidity singing lyrics that glue within your head after the first listen and even a bloody trumpet at the end, the song is full of moulded timbres and textures that work unbelievably well.

The next two sons, Bit By A Dead Bee Part One and Two, change up the vibe again and sound much more uplifting from the start but the song almost stoops into spoken word. This happens when an immensely groovy section comes on the scene in the first number with innovative drumming and clever bass lines. The vocals get a little lost in the song however due to the aggressive spoken word and are not pronounced with much diction meaning it just sounds like a muffled line unnecessarily put over a potentially great track. The second part is much more instrumental based just combining some experimental melodies with new chords, again thick with reverb,  the vocal line seems a little bit disjointed again which is expected with experimental music; to some it might hit really well but to others it might feel a bit weak or just plain odd.

Den Mother is next and again it didn’t quite hit with me as much as I would of liked it to. The diction on the words sounded a bit like he was singing with a mouth full of jelly beans and the accompaniment was perhaps too unstructured making it a bit messy. Don’t get me wrong, again it is all imaginative stuff and new and fresh with an individual sound but it just didn’t hit as hard as the first few tracks.

Another atmospheric song which I won’t even comment upon since it just came across as pointless attempt at increasingly the length of an album but it was however followed by the song Quietus. Quietus again is rather uplifting at the start and I actually think the vocal melody works very well playing off of the sweet little acoustic riff playing as well as the harmonic style violin. I’m not a huge fan of the drum line that cuts in due to the poor production quality of it sounding a bit too rough on such a soft song. The backing singers only add to the singers giving the song yet another outlet to impress. It all adds to a very solemn ending to the album.

It’s difficult to rate this one since there are parts I adore, especially from a musicians perspective, but there are also some bits that come across as going a bit ‘too-far’ with what they were experimenting with. To a standard commercial audience this album would be hated on massively due to its depressive tone and its unusual digressions but if you are a musician or composer or even just the standard song writer, give it a listen and you might change your entire view upon song writing.

8/10 – Due to it being a must listen with only minimal hiccups.

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