Foxing – Nearer My God (Triple Crown Records)
10th August 2018
St. Louis’ Foxing refuse to compromise on their expansive third record, Nearer My God. Louder Than War’s Dave Beech reviews.
Taking its name from an 18th century hymn, and the song that was allegedly played as the Titanic sunk, Nearer My God is the third album from St Louis four-piece Foxing, and, much like its name suggests, is a record that wrestles with concepts such as religion, as well as politics, mental health and the mounting sense of cynical indifference that seems to be proliferating currently.
Far from harbouring a similar sense of grandeur as the themes it muses on however, Nearer My God is a frantic and frenetic release that segues between aesthetics with wilful abandon; its seeming flippancy reflecting the complex and disorientating nature of the modern world the album seeks to understand.
In lesser hands, such a refusal to be bound by generic conventions might lead to an erratic and overly-impulsive record. Nearer My God on the other hand was three years in the making and as a result, feels considered and collected as opposed to disjointed.
It does, however, feel like a record of two distinct personalities; an aesthetic dichotomy that plunges listeners in to a disconcerting chaos, before wrenching them skyward in to heady anthemia. Tracks such as the opening ‘Grand Paradise’ or ‘Lych Prince’ are almost dystopic in their delivery, recalling bands such as Brand New at their most blistering and raw. Elsewhere however, the rousing title track is made-for-radio anthemia that offers immediate respite from the preceding despondency.
It’s a duality that carries on throughout. ‘Heartbeats’ peddles a similar sort of electronic anthemia, though with a degree less optimism, while ‘Bastardizer’ recalls the bands early work and their Count Your Lucky Stars labelmates, and thanks to its palpable heartbreak, is arguably the records stand out moment.
It’s the peaks and the troughs of Nearer My God that make the record what it is. And despite those recurring moments of aggression and angst, is arguably Foxing’s most accessible record to date. Intelligent, idiosyncratic, uncompromising and unflinching are all words I could use to describe the record, but checking it out yourself is by far the better option. You won’t regret it, it fucking rips.
Dave Beech is a music writer based out of Manchester. He writes and edits for a number of different websites and links to his work can be found over at his blog, Life’s A Beech, as well as his Louder Than War Author Archive. He also tweets as @Dave__Beech.