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Foxing, Now, Now, Daddy Issues

  • High Noon Saloon 701 East Washington Avenue Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

The ambitious but uneven Foxing bring along two very worthwhile support acts. Info/tix

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Ostensibly, perhaps just because it's from St. Louis, Foxing is an emo band. But one could be forgiven for mistaking 2018's Nearer My God for something else. On its third full-length release, the group more often recalls heavier versions of Vampire Weekend and Neon Trees than they do, say, Joyce Manor. Even album-opener "Grand Paradise," the LP's grittiest track, opens with a simple clapping beat and muted synths before Conor Murphy and Eric Hudson's vocals erupt, launching Foxing into a liminal space between towering '90s alternative rock, piano-driven R&B, and The Suburbs-era Arcade Fire. It's weird, but refreshingly ambitious. More importantly, the track actually sticks its landing and probably rips live. Unfortunately, this is about as good as Foxing gets here. Follow-up track and lead single "Slapstick" dials back the cathartic vocals, gets fairly cheesy, and largely stays past its welcome. Elsewhere, "Five Cups" offers no emotional or structural arc to warrant its nine-minute length, while both the sparkling "Heartbeats" and "Bastardizer" see Foxing's distortion wash out potentially interesting musical textures as they lean hard into their apparent crossover potential.

Ultimately, Foxing sound like a group trying too hard to maintain one's attention by playing down whatever could them genuinely interesting. In contrast, support acts Now, Now (who actually play last) and Daddy Issues alone make this show worth seeing. Whereas the former touches upon CHVRCHES-esque electronics on "Edna," their latest single, and occupies heady spaces on 2018's Saved, the latter's fuzzy guitars and sardonic lyrics produce "a throwback vibe (think late-'90s/early-'00s teenage dram-edy film soundtrack)" sure to stand out among similar acts. —Shaun Soman