Reviewed by: Matt Kelchner
With all breakout debut albums comes the pressure and stress of matching that greatness on the sophomore follow up. Such is the same for St. Louis quintet Foxing. Their 2013 album, The Albatross, took the band on a lengthy whirlwind of a journey full of highs and lows. The end result was scores of new fans and ravings reviews, as well as sky high expectations for LP2. Two years later and Foxing return with Dealer, a collection of 11 songs that show the group soaring far above all the hype and any fears of stumbling down into the dreaded sophomore slump.
One of the biggest elements of Dealer is that it is not a copy of The Albatross. Foxing take their signature mix of dynamic post rock and deeply personal and passionate lyrics and elevate it to another level. Missing on Dealer are the sorrowfully beautiful falls into chaos like found in one of The Albatross’ standouts “Rory”. In it’s place however are sprawling guitars that drift out endlessly, more robust piano and string arrangements that by themselves would make a great tune, and a softer, more somber side of vocals from singer Connor Murphy.
Foxing waste no time in addressing this fact with the album’s lead off track, “Weave”. Lyrics like “Drained out a tunnel in an albatross / now I’m haunted by the bird” make it crystal clear. The song ends with “I’m alright, it’s time I moved on”. And just like that, the chapter of The Albatross ends and the one on Dealer begins.
Throughout the album, there is a veil of delicateness and vulnerability present. Lyrically, Foxing dive deep into new personal depths. Take for example the first single, “The Magdalene”, where Murphy details his struggle with his religious upbringing when he lost his virginity. Songwriting as a whole has taken on a new level. From beginning to end, each track is intricately layered and well planned.
Dealer is more than what anyone could have expected from Foxing. The last two years have taken the midwest group from a standout local basement band to opening for the likes of Brand New on national tours. There’s no guarantee what the next two will bring but as great as Dealer is, Foxing are poised to rise even higher.