I made the foolish mistake of listening to the entirety of ‘Dealer’ for the first time right before bed. I was tucked under a heavy blanket, a box fan blowing cold air over my nestled body, and found myself completely overcome with emotion. I pulled the covers over my head and succumbed to that emotion. There I laid, sobbing for a solid fifteen minutes at the hands of Foxing. It was a culmination of moments all coming to a head at once. I left work that evening with so much built up stress and tension and by the time I finally hit the play button, I was on the brink of exhaustion. I made it to “Indica” before I started to feel the levi break, but the lack of recovery only became imminent halfway through “Winding Cloth.”
“Indica” is bone chilling, haunting, and starkly beautiful. It is morose in lyrical content and paints the most laymen or tangible picture of the doubt in action that come with serving in the military. I speak not from first-hand experience, but from what I remember my father talking about when he came home from Iraq. Even with no personal experience, I imagine that it would be difficult to not feel the incredible and deeply embedded sadness that one has to feel in order to write “of troubles stay when lids lay over eyes/the frames and faces I’ve mistaken for kids whose lives I may have taken/and if so, do I haunt their parents dreams?/and in so, am I summarized by sounds of young lung screams?/their young one’s screams/and of war bonds and blood stained hands/combat neurosis shies from indica strands/and it breaks my mother’s heart to know I came back broken/with the thought of my arms spilt open.”
Still, it goes much further than that. The emotion uses the vocals as a vessel, but only with the aid of some of the most talented musicians to grace the scene. Were you aware that a trumpet of all things could be the final straw in and endless combat with your tear ducts? Well, it can be.
That same emotion spills over into the instrumental “Winding Cloth.” The fact that the final words in “Indica” are “and if so, could I give back the sounds of their children’s screams?/let go of what I’ve seen?” before sending us into this swelling sea of orchestral music. It plays out like a funeral proceeding for both Coll [bass, lyrics] and the children in question. I could feel myself sort of drifting into the song and found myself hit heavy with the swells. This song will leave you feeling winded. I still feel it whenever the song comes on. It’s breathtaking.
To put the focus back on ‘Dealer’ as a whole, it is remarkable to see how much Foxing has grown over the course of the last two years. Foxing seem to have traded some of the punch of ‘The Albatross’ for something more eloquent and immediate. ‘Dealer’ is a release of the same caliber as early Death Cab For Cutie or Copeland. It’s a sweeping ride through an emotional rollercoaster that communicates love, good ol’ catholic guilt, anger, and sorrow.
I don’t know how this will resonate with any of you (unless you are Kiley Lotz of Petal because this is taken almost directly from your Small Talk) but “Night Channels” sounds like the kind of somber love song that could have made it’s way onto The OC Soundtrack alongside Death Cab, Jack’s Mannequin, and several other indie darlings. It is also my favorite song on the record. I only mention this because it shows the potential of this band. Foxing is going to be a name that even people outside of this community know.
Needless to say, I never did get much sleep on the night I first listened to ‘Dealer.’ I found myself caught in the tangle of it’s web, and I am so thankful that a record this powerful and cathartic exists today.