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Album Review: Nearer My God by Foxing

Foxing release their third album Near My God on 10th August via Triple Crown Records. Created over the course of nearly three years, the album was produced in St. Louis and Montreal by Walla and Hudson, with additional help from Joe Reinhart (Hop Along, Modern Baseball).

There’s a concept lurking under the covers, an apocalyptic melodrama about control in a world that really, really feels like it’s falling apart. For a band with a phenomenal discography (2013’s Albatross and 2016’s Dealer), this is a record that promised much – especially if you consider the diversity within lead singles ‘Slapstick’, ‘Nearer My God’ and ‘Gameshark’ – thankfully it delivers on that promise and more.

With it being three years in the making, the time was spent refocusing after the emotional and physical fatigue that came from years of their relentless drive. The result is a focused and varied album that can be a slow burner but driving and immediate at the same time, there’s elements of anthemic indie rock, avant-garde R&B, classical and more coming together to form some of their most original and strongest material yet.

Like all of Foxing’s previous albums you might not ‘get it’ on first listen. The gradual nature of the band lends itself to repeat listens needed to fully appreciate it, but once you become familiar it turns into a different beast. It becomes immediate, each guitar part and impassioned vocal resonates and filters through to your core. It becomes your best friend and each turn is relatable and full of life.

‘Grand Paradise’ starts the album off as the way it means to go on – varied and full of passion. ‘Slapstick’ should have the required familiarity by now and steamrollers in with its hook. ‘Linch Prince’ becomes one of the strongest tracks of the album with its forthright and awe-inspiring guitar work playing the perfect counterpoint to the light piano.

‘Gameshark’ was your first queue to expect the unexpected and the new groove and electronic tinges provide just as much oomph within the context of the album as a standalone track. The bassline couldn’t be anymore sumptuous. ‘Nearer My God’ excels as one of the finest Foxing tracks and typifies the raw emotion the band manage to conjure. Released in five different languages (seek out the different versions). It’s such a beautifully emotional track that it’s hard not to fall in love with it.

‘Five Cups’ lets an avant-garde R&B beat drive the track with a delicate guitar part accompanying the brilliant vocal work of Conor Murphy. ‘Heartbeats’ starts of with classical strings before turning through R&B styles and expansive indie rock, there’s so much crammed into 4 minutes it takes a few listens to hear everything that’s going on. The piano on ‘Trapped in Dillard’s’ oozes emotion with the electronic hook lending the track an immediate earworm. If that wasn’t enough diversity ‘Bastardizer’ comes in with a post-punk feel and flourishes into an astounding song. The slower pace builds towards a mini crescendo before fully blossoming around to 2minute 50 mark. Wonderful.

‘Crown Candy’ revels in haunting indie rock, there’s an undercurrent of Sonic Youth mixed with the Pixies all within a unique Foxing bundle. ‘Won’t Drown’ showcases the range and power of Murphy’s vocal before ‘Lambert’ closes with another emotional big hitter. There’s tones of the 80s mixed in to provide another layer of gravitas to an exceptional track and album.

AD Rating 10/10

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