Following on from the success of their first album ‘I’m Not Well’, ‘depressive rock’ trio Black Foxxes from Exeter have released their new album ‘Reiði’ on 16th March, on Search & Destroy Records. ‘Reiði’, which translates from Icelandic as Rage, gives the impression that this will be an album full of anger and aggression. This could not be further from the truth.
Inspired by an extended trip to Iceland, this album feels like a journey, a progression through emotional self-discovery. Mark Holley (vocals, guitars), Tristan Jane (Bass), Ant Thornton (drums) have brought together a sound, which combined with powerful lyricism, has surprised me. This is so much more than their first album was. A cohesiveness of words, music and emotions all combined spectacularly to ensure that this is one of the albums of the year for me.
The album begins with ‘Breathe’. A light feeling opening with a clear and emotional vocal. The track builds to an epic, almost orchestral ending. This is a hugely strong opening song which draws you in and has you listening hard to the lyrics.
‘Manic In Me’ feels like a conflict of emotions through the lyrics but also through the music. Strong harmonies and another track that build and builds. ‘Sæla’ is Icelandic for happiness /bliss and the music gives you the feeling of just that. With warm fuzzy melodic riffs enveloping you in, but then it becomes distorted at the end, playing with your emotions from the security of that happiness to feeling lost and confused. ‘The Big Wild’ begins with a clear acoustic guitar and light melodic tempo, layers of vocals building. When you listen, especially after the chaos of the ending of the last song, it gives a sense of openness and clarity.
‘Oh, It Had To Be You’, the lightness of a piano, soft and clear and mirroring clarity in the vocals with interspersed explosions of sound splintering in until the smoothness of the melody builds and takes over, but so subtly, the vocal is still the main focus of the track, sitting above the music. ‘JOY’ has a very different vibe to the previous tracks. Angry, fast, lyrics that question, changes in pace switching things up making the explosion of sound more dramatic when it kicks back in. The music becomes confused, distorted riffs, a trumpet in the background, the constant rhythmic drum beats and drama of the vocal make for a big song. ‘Am I Losing it’ has a powerfully emotional vibe, a journey unfurling through lyrics and vocal melodies. Repeated lyrics and clever arrangement gives you a sense of being lost. This is a stunning track. ‘Flowers’ is another lighter feeling track, catchy melodies and packed full of fuzzy riffs completed by a lucid vocal.
‘Take Me Home’ is a stunningly good track with beautiful lyrics. A delicate piano, a subtle touch with the guitar, understated drums lightly keeping the tempo, this is simply beautiful. Moving up a gear slowly but then there is that explosion of sound and energy again as in previous tracks before it all diminishes back giving a sense of contentment, of becoming complete. A superb vocal performance complemented by the memorably good music. I’m blown away by this track.
‘Float On’ has a positivity in the overall feel of the track. Crashing drums and more distorted riffs, it’s the layering of the music that builds this to a ‘big’ track. The raw emotion in the vocal creates another marvellous mix of music and lyrics helping to give the impression of the need to continue an incomplete journey. A powerful track, stunningly good in its arrangement and creative in its lyrics.
I am completely hooked on this album with the fluidity in the music creating a dynamic and enthralling sound. A special vocalist in terms of the range, tones and delivering a melting pot of emotions. Together they paint a picture of how the songwriter felt at the time, the journey they needed to go on. This is a deep feeling album, it takes some listening to first time to really hear the complexity in the musicianship and rawness in the emotions.
It’s one to get the headphones on, close your eyes and just enjoy.
Manic In Me
The Big Wild
Oh, It Had To Be You
Am I Losing It
Take Me Home
Check out more from Black Foxxes on the following links: