- by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-08-10 Label: Triple Crown
I never was a big fan of emo, and for their previous two albums St. Louis band Foxing was labeled as such. I guess that was the reason I effectively avoided them. I tried to do the same with their third and latest, Nearer My God, luckily, by chance I didn’t.
More or less, the same game of chance brought the album about. For some reason, the band thought that the whole thing might be a bit too much, so they wanted to scrap it. I mean, its title, taken from an old Christian hymn as famous last words can be pretentious enough. Again, luckily, its producer Chris Walla persuaded them they shouldn’t.
You see, musically, Nearer My God could be labeled as emo, and it certainly shouldn’t. Whatever Foxing and its leader Conor Murphy did on their previous two outings doesn’t matter here.
Obviously, under the impression of the current times and a constant threat of impending doom, which obviously influenced the lyrical content of this album, Murphy was able to transcend emo. He includes the elements and sounds of almost everything else that currently goes around musically and transform it into a coherent musical vision that makes sense.
What Foxing have come up with here is music that serves all its influences, from Bowie, through Echo & The Bunnymen to Sunny Day Real Estate and strands of, yes, emo, electronics and things you need to decipher (if you wish) through multiple listens into something truly personal.
What we get is a grand musical image on the scale of Arcade Fire’s Funeral and it is that personal take that makes it work and prevents it from falling flat on its behind. The essence of the sound and Murphy’s lyrical vision lie somewhere in the center of the album with the title track with its mesh of acoustic guitars, pounding bass and vocals, and nine-minute epic “Five Cups” with its almost ambient feel, making the band’s dark lyrical visions resonate even more.
All this makes Nearer My God a very easy and heavy listening at the same time and an album that should be remembered. It will keep resonating in your head anyway.