Foxing – Nearer My God
With Nearer My God, Foxing have embarked on a genre-hopping quest, creating a wild record that has the sensibility of emo, if not its aesthetic
Foxing are an emo band, or so every previous review of their output will tell you. But give their third album Nearer My God a spin and you’ll quickly realise that it has few of the signifiers that might lead you to believe that the band match the description bestowed by that much maligned three letter word.
Co-produced by former Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla, this has none of the subtlety of the best Death Cab records, and it doesn’t want to. This is head-spinning, shrieking, bouncing off the walls emo. It’s not Your Favorite Weapon or Taking Back Sunday. It takes The Black Parade and chucks it out the window – My Chemical Romance’s efforts at melodrama seem comparatively restrained in comparison.
What’s more, Foxing do this by rarely sounding like a classic emo band. It is emo insensibility, more than in aesthetic. They run through styles and genres effortlessly – indie-rock, R'n'B, classical, there are even bagpipes closing out the wonderfully named Bastardizer – and then discard them. Opener, Grand Paradise is quite the epic, starting with a hip-hop beat, and then morphing into something resembling a hellscape filled with TV on the Radio and Arcade Fire gone rogue. It’s wild, a bit scary, strangely infectious and a microcosm of the album as a whole.
Lich Prince and Gameshark up the ante on the dramatics, while Five Cups is a pop tune that dissolves into five minutes of ambient noise. At any point on this record, it feels like it could utterly collapse. Songs are bound by the finest thread and the fact they hang together is a wonder in itself. That might be ramshackle but it seems to be the point – the whole piece is on the brink of implosion, just like the world Foxing’s lead singer Conor Murphy is trying to evoke.
If it must have a touchstone within the emo canon, it would be Brand New’s opus The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. While it seems loathsome to reference the disgraced frontman of that band now, there is no getting away from the fact that the ambition and quality of that album changed what emo music could be, at once embodying and transcending the genre. While Nearer My God isn’t always successful, the imagination behind it is more than enough to give it your time.
Listen to: Grand Paradise, Lich Prince, Five Cups