Foxing embrace ambition on one of the best albums of the year, Nearer My God | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Foxing embrace ambition on one of the best albums of the year, Nearer My God

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On Halloween night 2016, a truck pushing 50 miles an hour rammed into the tour van of Saint Louis emo upstarts Foxing. The band members were fine, but their vehicle was totaled. Among the many people who offered their support to the band following the crash was former Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla; he mixed the cover of Dido’s “White Flag” that Foxing recorded and released to raise money to cover the vehicle damages. So when it came time for the band to work on their third album, August’s Nearer My God (Triple Crown Records), they enlisted Walla to produce. “We wanted this to be bigger than we were capable of, especially when we knew Chris would be involved with it,” front man Conor Murphy told Stereogum in June. Foxing proved they could go widescreen with their 2013 debut, The Albatross, and though Nearer My God is clearly made by the same shabby DIY experimentalists, it’s a completely different kind of record. A novella could be written about the stylistic chances Foxing took in making it, with passages about the odd percussion patterns on “Heartbeats,” the ambient interludes of the sprawling “Five Cups,” and the 80s-pop sheen of the dazzling go-for-broke title track. But though the music on the record diverges from their previous material, the band’s end goal in making these choices remains the same as ever: to capture a feeling of sensations and reflections that are intimate, but also feel too big for your body to contain. Nearer My God may not have a distinctively emo sound, but it’s the product of a group of musicians asking more of themselves, and that’s as crucial to emo as capos and catharsis.   v

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