FOXSMITH are an incredibly kool thing and they are a band that I’m quite fond of at the moment. Hailing from Brisbane (Queensland, straya), FOXSMITH make a beautiful sound that to my ears sounds like a mix of dream pop, slacker, rock n roll roar, angular slintesque rhythms and a whole lot of Kim Deal cool. Its music funded by heartache and a real good time, that late Friday night movement from party queen to “what does it all mean” melancholy. It’s soaked in cool, but the kind of cool that bands like Sonic Youth exude, hard to mimic but easy to admire. Its pop music covered in all kinds of dreams and schemes designed to destroy all your emotions and to make you swoon.
FOXSMITH are in the middle of recording some new noise meditations but I thought I’d take the time to review the current demos.
The first track that really grabbed me by the heart and took me into a landscape of escape was the reverb soaked dream pop bubble of “Struck The Match.” The groove is pure sex and moves along with the kind of cool that both Kim’s dealt in their respective punk rock bands. I love the mid-song breakdown and the way it creeps back into the kool thing groove and travels along with the kind of post punk repetitive echo that Warpaint demonstrated so well on their debut album. I guess you’d call this a ballad, either way it’s a beautiful slow dance number. I’ve always loved the slow songs.
The heartbreaking guitar and vocal intro and verse of “Sun God” are soaked with the kind of yearning that swirls around every early twenties crush. When the chorus explodes it’s a glorious danceable pop song moment that gives you a platform to rejoice and also sway away your bummer frustrations, its cathartic stuff. This verse and chorus pattern is repeated with a fierce pace getting more and more and intense ceasing every now and then to introduce an eastern flavoured keyboard line which helps you catch your breath. The mid song breakdown is a quick Sonic Youth guitar chord exercise that erupts again into that anthemic chorus. This is a heartbreak classic.
“Smoke” is a track that kicks in with a Sea Shanty groove but as it grows it starts to show a pixies backbone and Sleater-Kinney rock n roll freakouts. It’s equal amounts of hush and lush and is rock n roll creaminess with yet another explosive chorus. “Smoke” illustrates that FOXSMITH are a band who are clearly very disciplined pop song writers and the way the chorus sails with a burning intensity, reaching that anthemic state of bliss, makes you think that it is either the biggest fuck you to an ex-lover or a celebration of a brand new French kiss. Either way you feel it and you get lost so deep inside the emotional landscape being crafted.
FOXSMITH are a very smart group of songwriters and a total godhead band. They adhere to the two simplest and most right on aspects of great pop music, emotion and sonic freakouts. Add a rhythm section who balances all the maths of the “post” genres with a funkadelic sense of fun and you have the perfect coin. I’m personally a big fan of the vocals and the lyrics on display. It’s a nice mix of twee and slacker but is soaked in so much cool. I may be repeating myself there but it is the only accurate way I can capture the impact of the sound. I keep listening over and over again to the lyrics to try and get a glimpse of what kind of deep pain has funded the melodies. Perhaps I’m trying to look to deep and maybe lyrically it’s a bunch of nonsense, but as a listener and lover of music the lyrics in “Struck The Match,” “Sun God” and “Smoke” haunt me with possibility. The best lyric writers always bury the meaning and use the emotion of the melody to birth a wonder in the listener and this is certainly happening when I listen to FOXSMITH songs.
I got minor criticisms, but they are just the usual fan boy requests that suggest that they should do more of this and less of that. FOXSMITH just need to work on the dynamics of the songs so they can collide and run together in a smoother more moody way. I picture with the right producer they could evolve the mood of their band to the sound that Warpaint achieved on their debut “The Fool.” If they muse on the psyche freakouts of a band like Flaming Lips and mix it with the rock n roll roar of Sleater-Kinney I have a feeling they will soon be the indie communities favourite band. But fuck the bummers of minor criticisms; FOXSMITH should already be your favourite band.
FOXSMITH are without a doubt, the most exciting band existing in Brisbane, fuck it, in Australia at the moment. Someone tell Ricky Kingsmill that the next big thing is FOXSMITH and that our airwaves desperately need their bummer sunshine pop music played daily. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll hurl, but most of all you’ll dance motherfucker dance.
FOXSMITH are pop music elite.
10 cassette tapes out of 10