Foxing – “Dealer” Review

Posted: by Riley

I didn’t think I’d like Foxing as much as I do. I can keenly remember the first time i listened to the band’s sprawling debut, The Albatross. It was a peculiar indie rock record, paced with the drama of emo; it tossed between moments of slow-burning post-rock and dizzying math-rock, making for one of the most unique records of 2013. But, I will admit that it took me more than a few listens to fully appreciate it. Since then, the band has been through a lot. For one, their rise to prominence left them a bit stunned; they’ve been in the studio and on tour with Brand New, they hit the road with MeWithoutYou, and had their trailer – containing $30,000 worth of gear – stolen. All of this resulted in the decision to retreat to a remote cabin to write their follow-up. The stakes were high and a whole slew of fans anxiously awaited a sophomore LP from Foxing. And now, Dealer is here. 

Before examining a record, it’s important to place it in context and analyze it’s potential. The Albatross made Foxing a niche band – a band that appealed to indie rock loyals and Fest crowds alike. As the band’s second LP approached, the question of whether we’d get yet another departure record remained. Even after listening to this thing countless times, I’m not sure calling it a departure really makes sense. Dealer is filled with songs that are so personal and moving, that they couldn’t really be written by anybody but Foxing. Sure, sonically, the band is trading their explosive quotables and stony yelps for slow-burners and fluid falsetto. Yet, every element of The Albatross lives on Dealer in some form; they’ve just made room for advancements in the band’s sound. 

Foxing said it best themselves: Dealer is “a night record.” Its timing is impeccable, too. Late October is the perfect setting for a project like this one. Dealer is like snow; exciting and beautiful as it falls, but cold to the touch. The paralyzing lyrical magnitude of “Indica” and first single “The Magdalene” are enough to establish a depth greater than that of The Albatross – and most records of the past couple years for that matter. The tumbling Figure-8-esque piano of “Night Channels” lays the groundwork for one of Foxing’s most dynamic songs thus far. Pulsing, subterranean 808’s – a staple in Dealer’s sonic palette – punch up the poignant slow-burner before it erupts in emotive math-rock brilliance. Moments like these are only sweetened by Dealer’s quiet moments. The completely instrumental “Winding Cloth” is one of the most moving, gorgeous pieces of music of 2015 by any standard. The track gives way to “Redwoods,” another stunning song which offers the stirring “find a reason not to leave.” The weakest moments on Dealer actually occur when the band tries to work in elements of The Albatross’ sound in places they don’t belong. Take “Glass Coughs” for example: the song itself is a catchy, loud-quiet number which only falters in its climactic final minute. Murphy’s scratchy yelp as he affects “soft hangover, I’ll hang over” clashes with the sweeping instrumentation we see a lot of on Dealer; however, there are luckily very few instances of this.

Contextually, Dealer means Foxing is entering a world where they’re compared to The Antlers and Sigur Ros rather than Prawn and Old Gray. But what it means for the band, its that they found a new way to display their emotionally bare lyricism, and did a damn good job of it. What it means for you is a new soundtrack for driving around on a frigid winter night, or sitting in your room by candle-light, or sharing a smoke with your friends. The final song on Dealer is the most developed of their career thus far. Distorted strings cling to moonlit synth swells and release Murphy’s falsettos like a ghost whose been trapped for years. And maybe it has. Although Dealer is cathartic for its listeners, you get the sense that it is even more cathartic for the band. I never thought I’d like Foxing as much as i do. 

Score: 8.7/10

FFO: Sigur Ros, The Antlers, TWIABP, Polyenso

Essentials: “Weave,” “Night Channels,” “Winding Cloth,” “Three On A Match”