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Album Review: Reiði by Black Foxxes

Exeter’s Back Foxxes release their second album Reiði on 16th March via Spinefarm Records. If you cast your minds back to 2016 we reviewed the band’s debut, I’m Not Well, it wasn’t favourable and the bad took it badly on social media – with that in mind it was with a little trepidation we decided to give Black Foxxes another go.

We’re glad we did, this is a marked improvement. While it can’t be considered ground breaking, this is a more varied, more dynamic release. It’s the sound of a band that have taken it up a notch.

Titled after the Icelandic word for rage, Reiði, has the feel of a liberated band, free to experiment and do what they want. “The way we’ve laid it out, it’s not a concept album at all,” frontman Mark Holley says, “but the first half is very light and the second is a lot darker. With our first record everything felt dynamically very similar,” the frontman reasons. “We’re very proud of what we did with it, but it was a barrage of aggression I was letting out. Being out in Iceland and stuff just opened my eyes to different dynamics. We don’t want to be one of those bands that just stays in one genre. We want to be one of those bands where people go, ‘oh, what are Black Foxxes doing for this record?’ We want to surprise people with new things.”

As such it feels like there’s two distinctive sides to the album. The first half having a lavish indie rock sound with the latter 5 tracks coming in with a more brash alt rock sound. The first half is the one to sucker you in and make you think there’s more to Black Foxxes than their debut alluded to. It touches on the dynamic shoegaze end of indie rock with layers upon layers making for a compelling listen. ‘Oh, It Had To Be You’ is especially strong while ‘The Big Wild’ and ‘Manic In Me’ impress.

Of the second five tracks you get the feeling that this is what I’m Not Well could have (and perhaps should have) sounded like. The pop rock riffs of ‘JOY’ provide an urgency and breathe an invigorating air into proceedings before ‘Am I Losing It’ goes into dark dream rock territory. While they’re both impressive it’s the layered alt rock of ‘Flowers’ that really captures your attention.

Reiði allows Black Foxxes to live up to the hype. The mightn’t be the finished product just yet, but they’re well on their way.

AD Rating 7/10

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