Migrating due south from Oxford to settle on the coast of Brighton; the pliable and charmed Foxes! rummage through the undergrowth of guitar pop, feasting on scraps of C86, Brit-pop and American collage radio: you could say that the husband and wife led four-piece, unreservedly, wear these many influences on their sleeves – Young Marble Giants, Stereolab and Belle & Sebastian are just a few.
This self-titled debut is enchanting, full, as it is, of concatenate jangly indie waxed tales, and minor kitchen-sink dramas. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bell provide the vocals; with Kayla’s, often, dreamy fey Amercian tones taking the centre stage. Her other half, Adam, chips in like a sweet knock-about sparring partner, finishing off lines or acting as a foil. This is a relationship that seems highly endearing, and lighthearted; even if the elegiac ‘Who Killed Rob?’, playfully, yet also touchingly, tells a tragic tale of woe, our cycling protaganist meeting his fate whilst wearing “…my ambiguous neon vest”. In fact there’s liberal dashings of tragedy, and the forloin throughout; especially on the world-weighs-heavy-on-me ‘6 O’Clock’, and on the macabre, bad-luck cartoon ode to the philospher, ‘Descartes’. Yet there’s scant evidence of wallowing in the matter-of-fact, dry delivery – “My dog got anal cancer/From bumming around”, being just an example of this deadpan lyricism.
Carrying themselves off as a sort of lo-fi band, their album is suprisingly ambitious in scope and diversity; buoyantly flitting between hints of the BMX Bandits (of who they shared a label with for a brief time), Echobelly, early R.E.M and The Unicorns; whilst juggling ennui tempo and step changes at the drop of a hi-hat – I counted four in just one song.
The Foxes! art school power-pop, and tweeness may not suit the jaded or those bored of retro tidings, but the groups loosely threaded songs do prove a pleasent experience; the one-liners and veracious heartfelt observations grow on you, as this critic will testify.