Black Foxxes: I’m Not Well Review

By Alisa Pierce
Music Journalist

Artist: Black Foxxes
Album: I’m Not Well
Release Date: August 19th, 2016
Website: http://blackfoxxes.com/

For a couple of weeks, I was in an unusual musical slump in which I didn’t really enjoy any music I listened to, old or new. I couldn’t find anything to jam to, no matter what genres I listened to or how many old songs I revisited. I started to blame my busy schedule and subsequent stress for this, but after I listened to Black Foxxes’ debut album I’m Not Well, I realized the issue wasn’t that I was too busy to enjoy music, it was that I wasn’t listening to the right music. 

I’m Not Well is the perfect debut album for the new depression-pop band and has excellently backed up their solid reputation. Black Foxxes does a fantastic job of creating an album characterized by high strung melodies created by drummer Ant Thornton and bass player Tristan Jane, mixed with intense lyrics sung by their lead singer Mark Holley. As if strong vocals weren’t impressive enough, the perfectly sung lyrics offer more than that with songs that don’t hesitate in pointing out the theme of the album.

Mental health is a serious recurring leitmotif made obvious in songs such as ‘I’m Not Well’ with passionate lyrics that include ‘I’m not well, teach me how to breathe’ and ‘I can’t ever sleep at night, all the pain that’s in my head’. These lyrics effectively demonstrate the theme in a manner that is believable and heart wrenching.

The feelings of pain and anxiety expressed in songs such as “I’m Not Well” won’t end with them, as “Whatever Lets You Cope” follows suit with Mark Holley singing about drugs and the feeling of ‘kaleidoscope detached into a choke’ before focusing on time stopping still. The song demands that you don’t waste your time and asks ‘just how far would you go when the drugs aren’t hitting home?’ These songs also show an extraordinary range of sound as they touch from grunge to power-pop and sharp to blunt melodies with astonishing success.

The strong lyrics are complemented by a heavy-duty sound that borders on 2000’s screamo while successfully avoiding sounding whiney. In fact, the sound could be described as a mixture of Nirvana and La Dispute, a combination that no one thought to ask for but impressed fans nonetheless. Black Foxxes does not hesitate to make their emo tone obvious with deep bangs on the drums and strong bass riffs, while raw lyrics raw sing the listener into a trance perfect for evaluating the sad absolutes in their lives.

It’s no wonder that Spinefarm Records was so eager to sign Black Foxxes. I’m Not Well was an impressive fusion of beautifully sensitive themes, crunching riffs, and roaring drums. Black Foxxes deserves every bit of their reputation, and no doubt will be releasing more impressive albums in the future.

Holly Henrichsen

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