Review by Shannon Shumaker
The first thing that can be said about The Foxery’s debut full-length, Unless, is that it is unconventional. With layers upon layers of different vocal styles that most people wouldn’t even imagine meshing together coupled with both gorgeous clean and muddy distorted guitar parts, it’s hard to really confine Unless into just one genre or category. But the thing about The Foxery’s unique sound is that it works.
The opening vocals on “(In)ferno,” the first track on Unless, are absolutely hypnotizing and even haunting, and by the time that the other vocals and the rest of the band comes in, I’m blown away. While “(In)ferno” is only a short two minutes long, The Foxery already manage to showcase their amazingly unique sound as well as their versatility and by the time the song fades out, I’m excited to see where the rest of the album takes me.
The dark and haunting undertones and overall theme of Unless is very apparent within the first few tracks, and as the album progresses, every song is like a journey. Just when you think that a song is going in one direction, The Foxery mixes it up at catches you off guard. But the best part is, they have a reason for every musical decision that they make. Not one song outshines the other and no song or part seems out of place on this record.
A great example of the amazing songwriting on Unless comes on the third track on the album, “The Sorrow.” The spoken word parts in some songs, especially in this track, coupled with the fuzzy guitar add an amazing layer to the album. After the spoken word beginning, “The Sorrow” then progresses into gorgeous, melodic vocals and clean guitars seamlessly. The transition is incredible and keeps you hooked, waiting for the next unexpected turn in the song. The clean guitar work on this track is gorgeous and the harmonies later on in the song are spot on and somewhat reminiscent of bands such as Brand New or Manchester Orchestra, while the unclean vocals manage to keep The Foxery’s sound unique. “The Sorrow” clocks in at over four minutes, which is somewhat long for most bands these days, but by the time the song ends, I’m left wanting even more.
The only downside on this record is that because a lot of the songs are slower, mellow and darker, the album does seem to drag on at times. But on the flip side, there are these moments of gorgeous vocal parts or really strong guitar work that shine and really lift up the tracks, making each song unique and different from the other.
By the time that Unless starts fading out into its final tracks, (the amazingly constructed “Patmos” and “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”) I feel like that I’ve just come home from a journey. One of the best parts about Unless is that not one song sounds the same - and with drastically differing song lengths throughout the record, it keeps you on your toes. The Foxery have truly created something amazing and theatrical with Unless. While much of the album isn’t incredibly loud and in your face, they manage to convey a powerful message all while constructing beautiful and haunting songs that are sure to stick with you for months to come.
Listen to: "The Sorrow"