ALBUM REVIEW: Black Foxxes – Black Foxxes
Photo Credit: Connor Laws
After 18 months in the works, Black Foxxes are back with their raw and unfiltered self-titled third studio album. The band have been putting together a new sound with new bandmates, new mixing, and blending, topped off with their own personal messages. But will Black Foxxes live up to the anticipation?
The album opens with a smooth and moody sound, which is an interesting choice compared to most explosive opening tracks. Even just half-listening to I Am, you can get a sense for its emotional tone. We love how the track gradually builds up tension and volume with the incorporation of other instruments. Then crash! At the end of the song, Black Foxxes knock it out of the park with that awaiting explosive energy.
Badlands has a choppy angsty sound from the get-go, Black Foxxes did a smashing job with creating this track to be heavily beat driven. Lyrically, Badlands is fuelled by plosive sounds to reinforce the choppiness of the beat and cranks up the angsty vibe of the track. A couple minutes in, there is a melodic guitar which works brilliantly at softening the sound. We love how Black Foxxes play around with the sound on Badlands without making anything feel out of place.
Black Foxxes bring down the tempo with Drug Holiday – probably quite fitting really! Comparing to the previous tracks, it is great that the band are messing around with the opening songs so that nothing seems repetitive. Drug Holiday is a lot softer of a track where Mark Holley can really show off his vocal abilities, to almost give a psychedelic sound at times, again reflective of the title.
My Skin continues the downbeat tone of the previous track, but once the chorus kicks in there is an uplifting sound which has a borderline pop-rock romantic feel to it. Black Foxxes have done a great job at showcasing their versatility. My Skin is certainly one of the more cheerful tracks on the album.
Panic has a stripped-back and raw sound, with the gentle picking and strumming of the guitar in the background. The vocals certainly take precedence for the first half of the track, with the gradual build-up of tension and introduction of other instruments becoming more prevalent as it progresses. Panic is a track that showcases a feeling of vulnerability and a sense of helplessness.
Black Foxxes continue their thread of soft instrumental sound with dominant vocals to showcase Holley’s ability. You can really gather a sense of how the band wanted to strip back their sound and make it appear a lot more unfiltered. Swim gradually builds up momentum as it progresses, to produce a gentle and light indie sounding track with bursting pieces towards the end.
Jungle Skies is quite upbeat, with riffs being played throughout which gradually build up intensity. It feels like it could fall perfectly into an indie rock scene, but perhaps not delivering on anything ground-breaking.
Pacific brings back the wild and manic energy from the start of the album, which provides a nice break from the softer tracks. It does drift in and out of a softer sound, however there is a certain flair for how this is executed for Pacific; however we wish that this manic energy had some more prominence.
Closing tracks can either make or break an album’s sense of climax. The Diving Bell kicks off well, with the instruments feeling more prominent than they have across the central part of the album. This track holds a more indie rock sound that introduces the brilliant manic and intense energy a few minutes into the song. The Diving Bell transcends to a stripped-back sound at times that is vaguely reminiscent of David Bowie’s final album Blackstar. The track has an almost 10-minute duration, which is quite an ambitious move! Although it is somewhat effective, The Diving Bell feels quite drawn out and unsure of what direction to take at times.
Black Foxxes‘ self-titled album got off to an electrifying start, as the exciting and unique sounding tracks combined with an emotional and balanced sound. Unfortunately, a lot of what followed felt unnecessarily long and drawn out, which meant our attention dwindled towards the end.
Standout Tracks: I am, Badlands
For Fans Of: Nothing But Thieves, Lonely The Brave
Written by: Holly Hammond