Review Summary: Life-affirming as an aesthetic
I’m sure there’s a technical definition of the word soundscape. (Sound as escape? A landscape of sound?) Bit of a pretense, though, isn’t it, more a qualitative judgement – how immersive? – than an accurate depiction of sound. Whatever the case, I think Shoreside
is – or has – it: the feeling of escape, the sense of solace; the affirmation of self so seldom got it’s a surprise to find it still exists – is possible at all.
Even divorced from context – the project is, I believe, Foxhall’s first – the fact is that Shoreside
is a bit of an overachievement. “Albatross” in particular calls to mind a number of bigger artists, from the likes of Car Seat Headrest and Julien Baker to M83 and The National. Less so in musical (or, I suppose I mean, technical) competence, and more so sonic and emotional resonance. But the point stands: Shoreside
, in flirting with something far greater, conjures that something and twiddles in its grasp; is so close to capturing it I find it hard to believe this is a debut.
What I love about “Flood” – the amplification of simple sentiments via grand, romantic proclamation – I don’t care for in “Trees”. (‘If a tree fell in the universe tonight’ is charming at first, though, I think, fails to justify its repetititon.) But the song is, nevertheless, a contradiction that works. Inflating what appears to be moments of (logical, if not emotional) insignificance – a touch of the arm, a sudden retraction – its impact is much bigger than its simple (indie-folk) writing and Sufjanesque flourishes.
At its core, there’s something overwhelmingly beautiful about Shoreside
, something easily identifiable, and yet oh-so hard to describe. Equal parts sound as escape and landscape of sound, Foxhall’s first is sure in its resonance and confident in its brevity.