Album Review: Foxing – The Albatross

Album opener, “Bloodhound”, is a lush, densely layered track that begins with pulsing keys and soft violins bouncing off of one another, and swells as Conor Murphy begins to sing and the choir shortly joins in. St. Louis’ five-piece, Foxing’s debut album The Albatross has a lot of startlingly stunning moments like this one throughout its ten tracks. Out now, on Count Your Lucky Stars Records, the band’s debut mixes 90’s emo with odd time signatures reminiscent of This Town Needs Guns’ style of math rock, a dash of post rock, occasional bleeps and blips, and impassioned vocals that will make any listener want to shout along.

The Albatross is the kind of album that refuses to fit neatly into one genre, mixing several different genres in an interesting and fresh way – it feels wrong to try and put The Albatross into a box by simply labeling it “emo”. Foxing’s debut has the same kind of loud-quiet-loud dynamic that 90’s emo band Knapsack displayed on their albums – and it’s what made them engaging and fun as it was hard to guess what the band was going to do next. Singer Conor Murphy recalls Knapsack vocalist Blair Sheehan as he starts most of the songs of quietly, and then erupts into passionate shouting as the songs climax.

Tracks like “Inuit”, “The Medic”, and “Rory” stand out – beginning softly and sweetly only to swell and culminate with sweeping, lush instrumentation and passionate group vocals that when combined with the band’s intricate and elaborate style, practically beg for repeated listens. The instrumental “Calm Before” lightly and briefly dances by with a whisper, ending in less than two minutes. Closer “Quietus” begins with Murphy softly singing over delicate and sparse instrumentation before opening up and steadily growing louder and more complex with the addition of more instruments and vocals – making for a fitting ending that brings the album to an organic-feeling close.

From front to back, The Albatross flows comfortably and the majority of the album offers quality content, never failing to excite the listener with its shimmering, twinkly guitars, crashing cymbals and layered vocals. If you’re willing to give this underrated band a chance, I assure you, The Albatross will not disappoint.

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