Moving. That’s the word that comes to mind upon listening to
Dealer, the second full-length album from
St. Louis’s Foxing. The band had a lot
of hype to live up to after making a strong debut with 2014’s The Albatross, and this new record
delivers in every way imaginable. I won’t hesitate to call it my favorite album
This record is moving in a couple of different ways. The
lyrics, which are nothing short of fantastic, will move the listener
emotionally. Vocalist Conor Murphy and
bassist Josh Coll pull no punches,
diving headfirst into a number of difficult and uncomfortable topics throughout
Dealer. The lead single from the
album, “The Magdalene”, explores the antagonistic relationship between the
teachings of Catholicism and sex. “Indica” is perhaps the most heart wrenching
song on the record, as it details Coll’s personal struggles with PTSD stemming
from his time spent serving in Afghanistan. Lines like “[and] it breaks my mother’s heart to know
I came back broken” are brutally cathartic.
The music is just as moving as the lyrical content. The
songwriting here is top notch. Foxing have clearly mastered the art of
post-rock crescendos. Tracks like “Weave” and “Eiffel” take the listener on a
journey, eventually building up to goose bump-inducing climaxes.
The musicianship is tight too. Foxing’s rhythm section keeps
songs like “Laundered” grooving along. The guitar-work on Dealer is particularly interesting. On many songs you might not
even notice it, as the guitars sort of hide in the background building texture
instead of sitting in the forefront. You can hear this, as well as some
beautiful piano, on “Night Channels”, my personal favorite song off the record.
I’d say the biggest improvement over The
Albatross is the vocals. Murphy demonstrates much more control, as he
strains far less on this record. He nails some beautiful falsettos throughout
the album too, like on “Glass Coughs”. The male/female harmonies on songs like “Redwoods”
are just killer.
Dealer is an
incredible album. Check it out if you’re into post-rock, emo, or indie rock. It’s
emotionally draining, and I mean that in the best possible way. Foxing are
currently co-headlining a US tour with The
World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die and are being
supported by English math-rockers TTNG.