I had a lot of kind things to say about Foxing’s last album, The Albatross, things such as: “Like many bands saddled with the #emorevival, um, albatross, Foxing is notable more for the way they’re blowing open the possibilities of soul-searing Midwest basement music than for reverently going through the motions.” It was a wild album, one that wove such relatively disparate strands as the Wrens and Sufjan Stevens and American Football into something grand yet untamed. It portended great things.
Dealer, the follow-up Foxing will release next week, delivers on that promise, but not in the way I expected. Like their peers and tourmates The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, they’ve blown out their scope while softening the edges of their sound. It’s bigger, deeper music, as self-evidently beautiful as a hi-res drone camera’s footage of a snow-capped mountain. Yet it feels reigned in and bleary. Where The Albatross exploded into catharsis, Dealer retreats to a bottomless depth.
The album continues in the St. Louis quintet’s established lane, fleshing out their grandiose rock ballads with pianos and trumpets and the weight of the world. But the songs are more muted and and monolithic, approaching glaciers rather than caterwauling beasts. Connor Murphy’s howls have evolved into something ethereal, not unlike the Jon Thor Birgisson whale calls that render Sigur Rós so otherworldly; the chamber-pop arrangements rival Shearwater or Alcest in their ornateness. The result is a record that does for Catholic guilt and alienation what Stevens’ Michigan did for the notion of a God who’ll cradle hurting people in his arms. Stream it below via Wired.
Dealer is out 10/30 on Triple Crown.