Album (EP) Review: Foxes! – Who Killed Rob?

by Megan Costello on October 14, 2009

Foxes

Foxes! is a 4-piece indie-pop band from Brighton, England.  Just like in a fox hunt, you have to be extremely fast if you ever want to catch them, especially if you live in a country that doesn’t breed hounds for the traditional hunt.

This clever band recently completed a small but successful California tour without visas, and thus without merch and, most importantly, instruments. They dodged the instrument issue by sharing gear with tour headliner, Oakland’s The Hot Toddies.  Matching their DIY pop sound, Foxes! burned and decorated CDRs to hold over their curious new American fans until the real CDs cross the pond legally.

For a fiver, I nabbed a burned copy of the band’s 5-song debut EP, Who Killed Rob?

Every track on Who Killed Rob? is beyond catchy with a 60’s surf band feel to it, modernized with some synth and keyboard action, with the occasional drum machine.  Drummer Kayla Bell leads the sugary-sweet vocals on the EP with occasional back-ups from husband, Adam Bell.  Kayla’s voice is as sweet as a Pop Tart, and along with a cup of coffee, the album is the perfect poppy pick-me-up to start the day.

The title track of the album is the cautionary story of the band’s friend Rob who was hit by a car while biking (Spoiler: he didn’t actually die).  The tune bounces and rolls along smoothly. When Rob gets side-swiped by a car, the track suddenly loses its momentum and Kayla steals the vocals.  She eases us and Rob out of a coma, gets up, and goes right back to rolling along.

The gem of the EP is “Albania.”  This song has been stuck in my head for a few months since I first heard it. The track tells the story of how the band’s original bassist, Daniel, escaped from Albania as a child.  Over the jangly guitars, the song touches three of my favorite topics not generally covered in pop songs: Abba, Ukrainian TV programming and moustaches.  I dare you to not listen to the track now.

The remaining three tracks on the EP are more perfectly-packaged pop songs hovering around the 3-minute mark.  “Bunny Rabbits (Chip and Dale)” is a sweet ditty remembering family pets.  If I didn’t already have the cutest dog in the world, it might just make me adopt a couple of rabbits.  “It’s Ridiculous Adam” supplies the reluctant disco party while “Jailbait” rounds out and finishes out the EP with a slow jam about a pretty, young groupie.

The songs are simple, and the EP definitely does not seek out to do anything groundbreaking in music.  And for Foxes!, that’s perfectly ok.  Better than ok, it’s great.  Foxes! real strength is in their surprising and refreshing lyrics. If nothing else, the EP is great to twist along to while simultaneously getting bicycle fashion advice and tips for escaping the communist block.  I look forward to a full-length album to see where Foxes! will go next (hopefully with visas and their own gear).

Megan Costello

radio dj and music reviewer stuck in the life of an architectural designer

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Gordon Elgart October 14, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I failed at your dare, and listened to “Albania.” Now I'm a bit sad I missed this show. One of the members of Foxes! tried to hand me their flyer after the Postmarks show, but since I couldn't make their gig, I didn't take it. Had I only known!

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