Black Foxxes, fronted by Bristolian singer/songwriter Mark Holley, are back with a brand new rhythm band and, armed with a handful of melodies, have meticulously crafted their self-titled third album.
Holley has excelled at curating a tailor-made sound for this latest album. Each member stakes their claim to a shining moment or two, whilst simultaneously flowing together effortlessly through each track, from the bold opener to the lengthy nine-minute closer. All the while, Holley remains the glue holding Black Foxxes together, with an artistic ear for how to puppeteer the whole outfit.
Their strongest asset aside from this is, of course, the gorgeous vocals that bring this record to life. Set against the album’s grungy 90s backdrop, it’s tough not to compare Holley‘s distinct tonality in ‘Badlands’ to the charm of Placebo‘s Brian Molko, or the understated slow burn of ‘Drug Holiday’ to The Cranberries‘ similar modus operandi. Still, it’s the natural ease with which the voice cascades from one song to the next that really elevate Black Foxxes.
No matter how heavenly the voice, every album needs light and shade. ‘Black Foxxes’ droops a little in the middle and, although tracks such as ‘My Skin Is’ and ‘Panic’ are solid numbers keeping in tone with the album’s overall haunting and atmospheric sound, it verges on monotonous. Thankfully, ‘The Diving Bell’ swoops in to save the day with its charismatic allure.
Black Foxxes ooze cool on their self-titled effort. It drifts off on occasion and demands to be snapped back to life, particularly with some of the longer tracks, but there is a definite appeal to the album, orchestrated by the inspired mind of this reimagined outfit.