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Album Review: I’m Not Well by Black Foxxes

English alt rock trio Black Foxxes release their debut album I’m Not Well via Spinefarm Records on 19th August. A standard alt rock album in many ways, the key selling point of Black Foxxes is the “emotional outpouring” of vocalist and band leader Mark Holley. Take that away and you have an unremarkable, run of the mill alt rock album.

With it, I’m Not Well isn’t anything special either. In fact, you could be forgiven for finding Holley’s vocal grating and perhaps even thinking it detracts from the average music. It needs to be relatable, but with the vocal style as it is you find it hard to connect. It annoys and at times is too shrill to be even remotely enjoyable.

It’s all a little too pompous and self-congratulatory. From Holley himself, “It comes out so emotional and intense because I’m not even thinking about writing, so whatever I’m thinking or feeling just comes out as music.” Unfortunately for the listener it isn’t particularly intense or enjoyable. By the time you get to fourth track ‘How We Rust’ it’s easier to dislike the band (and Holley in particular) than to enjoy the music.

At their best, like on ‘Whatever Lets You Cope’, Black Foxxes sound like a passible imitation of Manchester Orchestra. ‘River’ threatens to be a good song before Holley’s vocal ruins everything while ‘Bronte’ and ‘Waking Up’ both err on the side of slightly enjoyable. The rest of the album is pretty dire, ‘Maple Summer’ is plain awful and ‘Husk’ gets bogged down in trying to create something artful and grand.

Make no bones about it, this is the Mark Holley show. If you can cope with his vocal style and lyrical content, then this has the potential game changer for you – for us we just couldn’t get on-board with it. Musically it’s nothing special but isn’t particularly bad, good luck getting to that point.

AD Rating 4/10

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