Posts Tagged ‘Conor Murphy’

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The St. Louis band’s rise has been both rapid and bumpy, first emerging on the emo-revival scene with The Albatross in 2013 before slipping somewhat out of that style with the divisive (though excellent) Dealer in 2015. Last year’s Nearer My Godexposed them to a larger audience at the possible expense of some of their older fans, but this was a risk Murphy and his bandmates were willing to take in order to make something impactful.

Murphy isn’t shy about expressing his ambition. He wants Foxing to be a band who releases great records and also performs great live shows—the latter of which has already undeniably been accomplished, reaching near-mythic proportions. With that aspect of Foxing’s attack fully-formed, they’ve relentlessly pursued perfection in the studio on their upcoming fourth LP, in hopes of equaling Nearer My God. That album presented its ideas nakedly, unflinching and unafraid. It was big and bombastic, an explosion of punk and rock and emo that never committed to any of those ideals fully. In short, it was tremendous, and Murphy might be pursuing a fool’s errand in trying to make a record that will appease rabid fans of their live shows. Still, his goal of embodying the best possible iteration of Foxing propels the band forward. He just wants to see them get bigger and better.

While the album touches upon the universal angst felt by many people in the nation, Nearer My God is also deeply personal. The standout track, “Five Cups,” is a haunting nine-minute dirge where Murphy recounts the desperate moments of trying to communicate with the recently deceased. He name-checks several friends who have died, lamenting how these losses have left him with a void that cannot be replaced.

Murphy’s evocative lyrics and elastic vocals — which shift at times from the baritone of the National’s Matt Berninger to the caustic screams of Desaparecidos-era Conor Oberst — highlight the album, but Foxing are far from a one-man effort. Guitarist Eric Hudson helped produce the album (alongside Death Cab for Cutie vet Chris Walla), and each track reflects equal creative contributions from the band (guitarist Ricky Sampson and drummer John Hellwig round out the quartet).

Foxing “Heartbeats” from the album Nearer My God

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FOXING – ” Dealer “

Posted: September 11, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Foxing initially won me over by being such a towering live band (if you haven’t seen them, seriously fix that ASAP), but their second album Dealer went the opposite direction of their shows. It goes into more somber, intimate territory, and it’s the best thing they’ve done yet. The album takes on soaring post-rock, tear-jerking piano ballads, downtempo glitch, melancholic horns and strings, and highly vivid lyrics, all brought together by some of the richest-sounding rock production of the year (courtesy of Minus the Bear/Mastodon producer Matt Bayles).

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It’s an album that stops me in my tracks every time I listen to it, whether it’s Conor Murphy’s gorgeous falsetto or the weight of the keys on “Winding Cloth” or the sudden moments where the band sound twice as large as they are. There’s a certain type of record that comes along every now and then, when an indie band swings for the fences but maintains delicacy and evokes real emotion from the listener. I’m thinking of albums like The Antlers’ Hospice album and self-titled Bon Iver, and now I’d add Dealer to that list too.

The band Foxing have always been ambitious. From its ornate music videos to the post-rock sprawl of 2015’s album Dealer, the band has never taken the direct route to anything. This was evident even before Nearer My God was released, as the band put out five different versions of the title track, each one seeing vocalist Conor Murphy tackle the song in a different language. It was impressive, not only because it showcased how strong Murphy’s singing has become since the release of Foxing’s debut album, The Albatross, in 2013, but also because it hinted at the full scope of the group’s latest.

While Foxing was once pegged as an emo band, it always wanted to achieve more, and Nearer My Godis proof of it. Opener “Grand Paradise” is more Prince than The Promise Ring, with thunderous electronic claps serving as the backbeat to Murphy’s effects-drenched voice. Even when Foxing plays the part of a rock band, the songs buck easy definition. “Slapstick,” “Nearer My God,” and “Crown Candy” are all expansive works that pull from post-rock, indie, soul, and electronic without feeling like some ham-fisted combination. It’s as impressive as it is expansive, .

No one song easily encapsulates the record, but listen to “Slapstick” and watch the accompanying video to get a sense of the sheer scope of this thing.

Foxing – “Slapstick” from the album Nearer My God