Written Before Listen
Foxtails are a screamo band hailing from Connecticut and they’re also someone I just heard about. The real reason I’m reviewing it is not because of the positive acclaim it’s gotten by critics, but the fact that it’s an acclaimed screamo record, and screamo is a genre I still need to get myself into. I know my fair share of pageninetynine, a little bit of Envy and I listen to bands that are obviously inspired by screamo like Deafheaven and La Dispute. Other than that, I’m not that far reached into screamo music and I hope this album gives me a good push forward in my journey to listening to more screamo. Without further ado, let's get into it.
First off, If this is what people consider scream, it really leans towards an artsier side of post-hardcore. A lot of those bands from the 90s come into mind but this time around, they bring a lot of other influences to the table. The tracks “So It Goes” and “Space Orphan” are full-blown post-rock vignettes. There are also hints of other genres that land in that field of music such as midwest emo, math rock, and no wave. They might not be the first band to combine these sounds, but they surely bring a unique spin to it.
At the time of this review, the band consists of Jon Benham on guitar, Megan Cedena Fernandez on bass and vocals, Mike Larocca on drums, and Jared Schmidt on violin. Each musician in this band plays a pivotal part in the sound of the music. The guitar’s dynamics and tones move the song into new boundaries, the drumming is tight and makes the band stick together, the bass is thick and heavy and creates the post-hardcore sound that builds their style, but the violin is where this record stays strongest. The violin contribution makes the sound of this record more surreal, suspenseful, and unpredictable. It’s surely an amazing addition to this band’s sound.
When it comes to this band’s sound, their biggest influences I’ve seen are the eclectic punk sounds of Minutemen, mixed with the brutal and violent sounds of Pg99. Alongside that, we get the post-rock dynamics of the first 5 minutes of a Godspeed song, mixed with the uncanny emotions of Slint and La Dispute. As you can see, their sound ventures in different sounds and ideas, and I will say right now, the blend of these artists create some unique and intriguing hardcore music.
Another thing this album has going for it is the undeniable musicianship of each song. From the odd time signatures on songs like “Ego Death” to the aggressive “Gallons of Spiders Went Flying Thru the Stratosphere”, Foxtails make every sound work with one another. Most of the dynamic switches, tempo changes, and tone switches all just make complete sense. That surely has the weakness of being predictable, but god damn, they do it with so much force. You can say that their sound gives them the potential to be a bigger band than they are, but I think what makes them special is how connected they are as musicians.
One thing I will say is that it does get derivative at points and it also gets predictable. There are also some pretentious ideas here and there but other than that, Foxtails is a band to pay attention to in the remainder of the decade.
I’m so happy I decided to listen to this. Easily one of the most unique punk acts I've stumbled upon in a while. I think once Foxtails develop their sound a little bit more and become even more unique, they can be one of the most innovative punk bands of the 2020s.