Review Summary: Howling winds have turned to gentle rains.
It’s been over a year since Foxing’s great storm of malaise, The Albatross
. Emotionally charged, swirling with influences of First Wave and Midwestern emo, their debut swept the band to critical acclaim and near-universal adoration in the indie and emo scenes. The expectations and standards set for their next album were huge; after all, the only way to top a tempest is with a hurricane.
The skies seem clear on the opening song, “Weave,” which is instrumentally rather light-hearted and claims that Foxing is no longer haunted by the albatross and her hounds; singer Conor Murphy and the band have decided that they’re alright and it’s time to move on. Gone are the screams of frustration and agony of their first album, but don’t be deceived - this is an even more impassioned and distraught album than their debut. A somber tone takes over, one filled with pessimism, doubt, confusion, but occasionally hope. While the contrast makes the more upbeat lyrics shine through much brighter it’s easy to say that Dealer
is far more dismal in tone than The Albatross
, leaving much doubt to Murphy’s claims on the first track. Rather than focusing on one event, this time around every member of the group adds their own stories to the collection. Josh Coll, the bassist, has crafted the most wrenching track on the album with “Indica,” written about the aftermath of his time served in Afghanistan. Does he terrorize the dreams of the parents of those he killed, and if so, doesn’t that summarize who he is as a person" That has always been the question of Foxing: are we characterized by our failures" Do our faults make us who we are or can we triumph over them" Dealer
does not give an answer.
would have you believe that it was the calm before a gale and instead it was preparation for a light storm - but not one without some lightning. A grey mist of post-rock shrouds this album with its influence. It’s not a thick cloud, however, and while it may be heavy and strong on the instrumental interludes like “Winding Cloth” it thins out and allows complex guitar riffs to shine and twinkle through at times. Occasionally the thunder of Murphy’s intense shouts echoes loudly, not quite screams and not quite cries. Piano, keyboard, and strings play constantly and without overpowering the mix, right on the cusp being considered full instruments. The melancholic, haunting atmosphere may pause for a winding build or pick up in force for a powerful track like “Night Channels,” but it is always present as the tracks pour into one another to create a cohesive album; one linked sonically rather than just lyrically like the first storm. Foxing has always shown a keen knack for song structure and Dealer
displays their best efforts yet. From the soaring, climbing builds of “Night Channels” and “Glass Coughs” to the slow and symphonic “Coda,” Foxing has perfected their songwriting talent.
Above all else, this album is beautiful. It is utterly gorgeous, cleanly produced and masterfully pieced together. Foxing has evolved past the angst of their premiere and matured into graceful pensiveness. If ever a band was deserving of the label post-emo, it is Foxing. The storm has ended, but the rain keeps falling.