Foxing
Draw Down the Moon


4.2
excellent

Review

by Sowing STAFF
August 6th, 2021 | 443 replies


Release Date: 08/06/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is their “pop album”, but it’s a damn fine one at that.

Draw Down the Moon suffers the great injustice of having to follow Foxing’s magnum opus, Nearer My God. Now it gets to absorb the brunt of all criticisms – some perfectly valid, others less so – as it’s constantly measured against an album that is for all intents and purposes untouchable. The truth is that once you move past attempts to compare apples and oranges, Draw Down the Moon ends up holding its own quite beautifully. It is Foxing’s simplest offering to date, but it’s also the catchiest and most purely enjoyable thing they’ve ever put their name to. If you enjoy shouting along to anthemic pop-rock bangers, then you’ve arrived at the holy grail.

It’s easy for Draw Down the Moon’s transition to feel jarring to some. The band have trekked pretty far from their emo/post-rock roots, and ‘Speak With the Dead’ served as a highly misleading red herring of a lead single with multiple suites/movements over a winding, unpredictable seven minutes. Even those who’ve digested all five (!) of their singles prior to the album’s release date might have experienced a sudden jolt of excitement when ‘737’ came bursting down the door with its intoxicating pastoral acoustics and that balls-to-the-wall crescendo of screams and electric shredding. But at its heart, Draw Down the Moon isn’t anything rollicking or wildly experimental – it’s just a superbly executed batch of emotionally tense, highly melodic, and stylistically eclectic mainstream tunes. You’ll be disappointed if you come here with all your hopes set on another ‘Five Cups’, but it’s okay – you’ll get over it.

There’s reason for such blunt optimism, and that’s because despite failing to match Nearer My God’s creativity stride-for-stride, the record still exudes endless passion and energy thanks to Conor Murphy’s uniquely earnest vocal delivery and the band’s unquenchable sense of urgency. Draw Down the Moon might be Foxing’s most refined offering yet, but you can still palpably feel everything that went into this record. Even on the album’s poppiest outing, ‘Go Down Together’, there’s an undeniable sting when Murphy wails, “your friends talk shit while you're going through hell” atop a groovy dancefloor beat, or when he sings “ever since I got going I've been going for broke” narrating the tale of Bonnie and Clyde while also perfectly describing post-2015 Foxing. The synth-pop vibes turn darker on ‘Bialystok’, as the pain knifes its way even deeper with the melancholic chorus “I feel so homesick everywhere I go” and roundaboutly romantic, self-deprecating verses like “I was just thinking about arguing in the kitchеn / Just to be the one that you argue with, is a miracle in itself.” Basically, it’s the same band of sad boys that we’ve come to know and love, only a sleeker and more efficiently packaged incarnation.

Foxing are at their best when they fuse this album’s mainstream mentality with the grittier emo-rock of their past, however. ‘737’ is the strongest track on Draw Down the Moon – and one of the greatest Foxing songs in general – precisely because it achieves that striking balance. The song trickles in like an idyllic For Emma, Forever Ago moment, but then erupts into the most punishing bridge of the band’s entire career. Similarly, ‘If I Believed in Love’ floats in on a cloud of elegant croons and electronically-altered vocal cuts before catapulting into the stratosphere with a series of all-screamed verses which consume the remainder of the track’s runtime. Songs like these aren’t as elaborate as what one might expect on the heels of this record’s predecessor, but they’re exhilarating and wholly satisfying in a way that we haven’t heard since Brand New threw everything at the wall on 2009’s Daisy. The simplicity and repetition can be initially off-putting, but these intense and moody songs will haunt your mind for days – not to mention absolutely kill in a live setting. If Foxing ever chases this aesthetic for the length of an entire album, it could be their ticket to finally, someday, escaping Nearer My God’s long shadow.

Elsewhere, the stylistic fusions are far more subtle and dynamic. On ‘Where the Lightning Strikes Twice’, a huge chorus is in constant contention with illuminated electric riffs to see which can act as the song’s most recognizable hook, and they both win. The title track seemingly displays all of Foxing’s modes in one showing, from insanely infectious vocal melodies to slightly gnarled and discordant guitars, finally reining it all in towards the end for one of the most satisfyingly anthemic choruses in the history of emo-rock. Never do these moments feel like they belong anywhere other than with each other; a testament both to Foxing as well as the deft production (where credit goes to guitarist Eric Hudson, along with John Congleton and Andy Hull). ‘Beacons’ and ‘Cold Blooded’ operate in similar capacities, their fuzzed-out melodies sticking to any ears in their path while Conor Murphy dials in with some of his most heartbreakingly introspective observations to date: “I was floating there for so long / King of nothing, but the space I take up / I felt it all at once”…“ I wish that a day without rain would make me feel the same today, but I'm desensitized.” The odd song out on this whole record is ‘At Least We Found the Floor’, an acoustic ballad with minimal tonal or lyrical variation. Even as you expect the track to stumble due to its own simplicity, there’s still a weight to the “oh fuck” that starts things off, not to mention the sinking feeling that comes when Conor sings “It's gonna get much worse than this / Yeah it's gonna get much worse than this” after spending three minutes exploring the upside of hitting rock bottom. C’mon Conor, it’s 2021, we feel bad enough. More than anything, though, it’s merely a transitional piece bridging Draw Down the Moon’s pop-oriented first half with its louder and more daring second half.

Draw Down the Moon is an album that will draw the ire of many fans because of what it isn’t, but I’d like to once again summarize what it is. It’s nearly all hook. It’s an emotionally dialed-in, instrumentally ramped-up, and vocally memorable collection of mismatched ideas that somehow function together smoothly. Even amid the record’s eclecticism, it’s still a definitive Foxing experience. Make no mistake: this is their “pop album”, but it’s a damn fine one at that. For those who can’t appreciate that, well, sing it with me: tell them all to go home…



s
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user ratings (169)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
SteakByrnes
August 6th 2021


25132 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

first



I didn't even know they had a new one coming

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WatchItExplode
August 6th 2021


9347 Comments


This took longer to drop than I expected.

Digging: Floating Cloud Music - Love is a Burning Building That Will Suffocate Us

Dylan620
August 6th 2021


5552 Comments


Andy Hull produced this???

Sowing
Moderator
August 6th 2021


39398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"Andy Hull produced this???"

No, not solely, and I just realized how misleading that line could be. Editing now.

Digging: Biffy Clyro - The Myth of the Happily Ever After

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
August 6th 2021


3462 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

great rev, wish i agreed lol

edit: fixy

Digging: Slow Crush - Hush

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
August 6th 2021


3462 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

oh also now that there's a thread imma complain about this: 'go down together' and 'draw down the moon' both using 'together' as such a central/hooky word rly bothers me lmao

Pikazilla
August 6th 2021


19327 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Worst Foxing by a landslide, agreed with Jesper

Sowing
Moderator
August 6th 2021


39398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@Jesper thanks for that catch, I think I fixed it.

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
August 6th 2021


14797 Comments


will listen to this when i have time, motivation, and inner peace

Project
August 6th 2021


5209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this about as much as I liked NMG, which is to say, it's pretty fun

Digging: The World Is a Beautiful Place... - Illusory Walls

Gyromania
August 6th 2021


33144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I immediately thought of daisy (vices in particular) when I heard 737 lol.



Great review and great album. Hard disagree about where the lightning strikes twice tho. That song goes absolutely nowhere. Its chorus should have been expanded by a verse or 2 and it probably would have been very solid, but as it stands it's easily the least memorable hook they've ever penned

Cormano
August 6th 2021


2968 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

probably not a 4.2 but here we go

Slex
August 6th 2021


12303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Controversial to say I'm sure but this will not be as bad or as good as people say u can take that to the bank

Digging: Circa Survive - A Dream About Love

Sowing
Moderator
August 6th 2021


39398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is honestly a ton of fun. I realize it's not as elaborate or consistently tense as NMG, but this is just an excellent pop rock album where so few seem to exist.

If I Believed In Love and 737 are both Daisy-esque IMO, I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees it.

parksungjoon
August 6th 2021


38393 Comments


Controversial to say I'm sure but this is not Beherit's Drawing Down the Moon

Digging: Slint - Tweez

Slex
August 6th 2021


12303 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't love or hate this on first listen, its definitely an album with music on it

Sowing
Moderator
August 6th 2021


39398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Slex you're full of hot takes today ;-)

Gyromania
August 6th 2021


33144 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

737, go down together, t.t, bialystok, and speak with the dead all now belong to any discussion involving best of Foxing. It's an excellent album... I will say tho, the audio is mixed pretty quietly, which is very frustrating. Going from the every time I die album I had to this is difficult. I can hear tons of background noise on the bus rn

Sowing
Moderator
August 6th 2021


39398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I honestly like every single track. I don't think this will ever be as important to me as NMG, but I could actually see myself listening to it more often.

With that said, 737 and Speak With The Dead are clearly a cut above everything else here and definitely belong in any "best of Foxing discussion". Not far behind would be the t/t and If I Believed In Love.

Oh and I do really like Lightning Strikes Twice, I realize it's a bit cheesy but I disagree that it goes nowhere. The chorus is one of the album's biggest hooks for me and the guitar work is superb. It feels like Andy Hull definitely had his hands all over that one.

BeeRyan
August 6th 2021


1702 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Not feeling the songs on this at all but production is cool



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