Foxwarren - 'Foxwarren'
3.8Overall Score

Foxwarren are a band of humble beginnings, ordinary development, familiar growth, and ultimately some outstandingly extraordinary songwriting skills. They use their subdued styling and suburban fervor to create a sound that evokes both the warming, orange glow of the fire and the chill one feels when turning your back to it. Their self-titled debut LP is really quite fantastic.

The band, comprised of singer-songwriter Andy Shauf and his childhood friends Dallas Bryson and brothers Darryl Kissick and Avery Kissick, resolutely provide ample backing to Shauf’s demonstrable talent not only as a songsmith but his incredibly idiosyncratic vocals. The initial sessions for their self-titled debut began ten years ago in the Kissicks’ parents’ farmhouse while they were away on vacation. The name of the project is taken from that location and that beginning, as simple and honest as it is, permeates every note.

One name you may be familiar with in that list is Andy Shauf. We’ve been huge fans of his for a few years now and his magical 2016 LP The Party still highly ranks as one of the best records in the last decade. The good news is that in Foxwarren Shauf is using all of his songwriting skill but now backed by a fuller musical arrangement – it lends a slightly darker edge to Shauf’s inspiring vocal.

From the opening notes of ‘To Be’ the first track of the record, we are comforted and cradled by the warmed brass strings despite the context of the track. It’s a recurring theme, on ‘Everything Apart’ the lead single from the album we have a similar vein. It’s an accurate depiction of the album, sweet and smoky it provides a taste of the LP that feels impossible to spit out.

This juxtaposition of sound and lyrics continues throughout the album, songs offer hope musically but caveat it with melancholy both lyrically and with Shauf’s unique vocal tone. ‘I’ll Be Alright’ is another nod to this, with its simple premise and plodding rhythm it could feel like a simple fireside tune. But instead, the delicate touches and nuanced nods to the hurt of never being with the one you love but carrying on regardless, make this song feel unique. ‘Your Small Town’ offers similar reflective moments “If you’re gonna leave/then leave me be” croons Shauf.

On the self-titled LP, Andy Shauf said: “So much time and effort went into making this album; it’s something I think we’re all really proud of. My touring and recording schedule got pretty wild over the past three or four years, so it put the Foxwarren album on the backburner. Making the album was such an enjoyable time – the collaboration and frustration of it all. All of us trying to make something better than we previously had. I’m excited to get it out into the world and have other people listen to it. We’ve been a band for 10 years or so and never properly released an album, so this is special for the four of us.”

We could go on, completing sentence upon sentence on the intricacies and nuances of the delicate balance Foxwarren manage to strike on this album. But, simply put, this record, an album built directly upon the band’s hometown, ironically has no real home.

It is as happy in the sun as under the rainclouds, it offers romanticism and realism, a helping hand and arms crossed but most of all it offers an experience worthy of burying your head for. Enjoy. We certainly did.

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