Reviewed by: Max Miller
Foxtrot & the Get Down may hail from Philly, but they sure sound more like they come from my home state of North Carolina. Seeing as Black Coffee, the group’s latest EP, was recorded in Franklin, TN, it would appear their Southern inclinations are fully intentional. And while their songs evoke trucks on back roads and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the four-piece aim for a more all-encompassing Americana and a more universal sound.
That is to say, I certainly wouldn’t call Foxtrot & the Get Down a country band. They eschew the pedal-steel guitars and fiddles that every wannabe Wilco from Washington to West Virginia slather on liberally like sunscreen at Myrtle Beach. The band instead goes for a driving, bar-rocking sound that leaves them somewhere in between vintage Black Crowes and the inescapable stomp of a pre-synthesizer Mumford & Sons. Opener “Roll Down the Road” lays out the basic blueprint for the EP, with a driving hard rock riff building to the kind of massive “woah-oh” hook that screams, “Put us on the next Bonnaroo!”
The songs are all no-frills, straightforward rockers built around singer/guitarist Colin Budny’s bluesy riffs and just-gritty-enough vocals. The exception is the title track, which has a laid back slide-guitar riff and verses that turn the spotlight over to vocalist Erica Ruiz. Ruiz mostly sticks to backing vocals throughout the EP, which is somewhat disappointing given her strong performance on “Black Coffee” and “Voices In My Soul,” where she lends her pipes to the song’s ascending chorus countermelody.
Foxtrot & the Getdown clearly aspire to the stadiums of the world, with a generalized rock ‘n’ roll sound that could someday land them in the same sphere as the Avett Brothers or the Black Keys. For now, however, their music is a little too generic to entice such a massive audience. Black Coffee proves they can pen songs that hit all the necessary sweet-spots; to cross over, they need to find the sweet-spots no one knew were there to be hit.