Review Summary: Momentarily alive, is the grass greener on the other side? Fawn
stands as Connecticut band Foxtails’ fourth full-length, and also marks a significant expansion of the group’s style. While previous efforts provided a fairly creative sound straddling the line between mathy screamo and emo (trending slightly towards the former), Fawn
sees a shift towards incorporating an even broader range of influences.
It takes the listener no further than the brief opener “ego death” to realize this. The track begins with a post-rock leaning intro, accompanied by swirling violin which adds a touch of the sensation of lilting Celtic folk to the whole affair. While, about a minute in, melodramatic screams join the equation, it’s already quite clear that this isn’t a by-the-book screamo album.
The aforementioned violin is nearly omnipresent on Fawn
. While this reviewer never would’ve thought to propose this idea, it turns out to be a match made in heaven, adding an enigmatic and sometimes even ritualistic quality to the album’s frequent instrumental sections, while also contributing a sense of pathos to numerous vocal freakouts (check the end of “ataque de nervios” for a particularly good example).
All told, Fawn
may be a bit more subdued and less frenetic than the typical screamo album, but it’s all the better for it. There’s still plenty of aggression and pent-up feeling to be expressed, but also piercing beauty and a satisfying interplay of diverse elements. While the whole release sees elements of post-rock and folk being commingled with a base of math-tinged screamo, “gallons of spiders flying thru the stratosphere” betrays melancholy indie traces somewhat reminiscent of Modest Mouse, while late in the tracklist, the early stages of “la belle indifference” features clean vocals which are genuinely beautiful. To be clear, I don’t mean they’re “beautiful” in the way that a Sputnik user might describe Mikael Akerfeldt’s death growls on Blackwater Park
, but in the more conventional definition of the word.
Take it from a reviewer who is typically a bit wary of screamo-adjacent releases: Fawn
is an album worth checking. While those with an unrelenting aversion to periodic off-key screaming and moments of passionate melodrama likely won’t be convinced, listeners with an open mind will confront an album chock-full of intriguing ideas and successful execution. It’s fitting that after a series of tunes engrossed with grim and pessimistic themes, the final defiant lines of closer “paper tiger” are “save your pity, I’m playing for keeps”. Foxtails do indeed seem to be “playing for keeps” here, and I’m glad for it. Fawn
provides an excellent start to the very new musical year 2022.