Foxing released their debut EP Old Songs back in 2012 and I was really taken aback with how refreshed I was by it. Since then they’ve done a few splits here and there, but what I had been waiting for was a full length. As to how their full length The Albatross slipped under my radar doesn’t make much sense, but I am very pleased that I caught myself. This time, Foxing decided on a math/post-rock sound with fusions of emo, and just as I was refreshed with the sound from their first EP, this is a blend of sounds that they meshed together incredibly well. They have been consistent when it comes to their sound for their first few releases, which is respectable on their part.
This album was crafted so masterfully and I understand now why it took so long for Foxing to get it out to their fan base. The songs flow relatively well not just as an album, but as individual songs. More specifically, there are perfectly placed cadences that seek resolution which are sometimes granted, like in “Bloodhound”, which sets up the rest of the album ever so graciously. However, sometimes these cadences are left unanswered, like in the final song “Quietus”. The song leads you out of the album with a drum beat that sets off vocals drifting over nothing, so of course you’re left to linger and revel in how awesome that just was. It’s the small technicalities that can really leave you wanting to listen to an album over and over again, and The Albatross does just that.
Seeing a band use the image of an albatross is something I honestly never thought would occur in my lifetime. As soon as I read the album title, it brought me back to high school and reading Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. To make an incredibly long poem short, the albatross was hung from the mariner’s neck so as to signify a burden. The themes of the sea, the bird, its heavy burden, and the cold are all present on this album. For someone who loves poetry, picking up those references was a lot of fun.
The album dives into something broader than what is tangible. With the way the drums and guitars switch in tempo and key changes, you might actually be out at sea. Sometimes the water is still in songs like “Pent up in a Blind”, a completely instrumental piece featuring wind chimes. This only serves as the quiet before the storm that is “Rory”, where although it isn’t as instrumentally heavy as other songs on the album, the lyrics beg: “I swear I’m a good man/so why won’t you love me back?”
Frontman Conor Murphy uses his voice skillfully and with purpose. There is yelling where it is necessary, like in the buildup in the beginning of “Inuit”. His voice softens during “The Medic”, where he is telling the possessor of his heart that he wants to be loved. He conveys emotion in a way so as not to overwhelm the listener, because let’s face it: this album carries some pretty heavy heartbreak.
Unfortunately, some of the tracks bleed together towards the end of the record, almost becoming crowded and muddled. It’s a shame because every song has something really interesting to offer, but when the album is listened to in full, they can get lost.
Nevertheless, Foxing did their job. This record conveys something genuine that leaves a reasonably-sized mark. It hits hard and is something memorable due to its refreshing blend of genres. There is something for everyone – which is why I think it appeals to a wide array of people – and that’s something that is truly amazing to accomplish as a band. Many people have named this record one of their favorites of 2013, and I can’t help but agree. This is a piece worth checking out.