Black Foxxes – ‘I’m Not Well’

By Max Gayler

Black Foxxes’ journey has been something of a spectacle. The release of their debut EP, ‘Pines’ in November of 2014 was closely followed by their signing to Universal’s Search And Destroy label in July of 2015, and now just over a year later Black Foxxes are ready to go global with the release of their debut album, ‘I’m Not Well’.

Featuring ‘Pines’ tracks ‘Home’, ‘Pines’ and ‘River’, the 11-track record gives us eight new songs to sink our teeth into, taking in every bit of dejection and madness. This band’s sound has been something of a curiosity of mine ever since hearing ‘River’. There’s a real blues influence through the guitar work from vocalist/guitarist Mark Holley, shrouded in this brash lyricism similar to the misery-inducing Pianos Become The Teeth. Thankfully, this twisted style has carried through to ‘I’m Not Well’ and finally gives this band the platform they’ve been craving to manifest their troubles and traumas.

Dynamically this record hits every gear, taking time to indulge in the quieter moments, focussing on the intricacies of the songwriting which is heavily driven lyrically, but reaches it’s full potential in louder moments. Songs like ‘Whatever Let’s You Cope’ are intimately performed, offering this relaxed feel in the style of Lonely The Brave, but experimenting with the dynamics to a greater degree revealing tear-jerking moments of confession supported by stadium-sized instrumentation.

This contrasts with songs such as ‘How We Rust’, which play more to the beat of a band playing to thousands of people. The chorus of this song lands like The Xcerts’ ‘Live Like This’, producing a moment of singalong adrenaline which cuts up the pace of the album, giving way to more intense songs like ‘Husk’.

While this band can easily come off as an all-guns-blazing affair, Holley’s explosive musical character is more of a reserved being, lashing out in dear moments rather than lengthy spells. The snarling vocals of ‘River’ and the groovy frenzy of the hardcore ‘Slow Jams Forever’ are the embodiment of exactly this – a masterclass in fucking with musical dynamics, channelling emotion through fearless expression from jittering whispers to demonic cries.

For a debut release, there’s an emotional maturity to this record, a talent in the way of storytelling which adds to the compelling theme carried with it. It’s dark and a bit twisted in its performance, but as a musical release it’s a triumph. If the band have achieved as much as they have with only five songs released to the world, I can guarantee that ‘I’m Not Well’ is going to touch a lot of people and take the band to a cult-following of mass proportions.

MAX GAYLER

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