Both dealing with the problematic trope of “dudes screaming at their ex-girlfriends” and a slight revisionism of the genre’s issues with reviewers in the past (maybe thanks to lil uzi vert and the rest of the rap-emo wave), Emo sits in a bit of a strange place right now. Not unlike Shoegaze, the genre was an insult at one point–dismissed for the sake of more masculine genres–then gained more recognition as the internet allowed for fandoms to connect and gush over the classic records that the press wouldn’t recognize.
Of course, allowing emo to have a chip on its shoulder comes with more weight as the genre to recreates the power dynamics of the mainstream with its almost strictly male cannon and, again, the “SCREAMING AT YOUR EX” thing. A band that once screamed out “SO WHY DONT YOU LOVE ME BACK” in a rather vicious way, Foxing may fall victim to some of the genres shortcomings, however, their career has seen them grow more mature with each release and Nearer My God is the culmination of their talents.
Nearer My God is a unabashed swing for the fences record. An hour long, the album is the band’s longest and through layering and electronics, the instrumentals are orchestral in size, cresting in huge climaxes that continuously outdo each other making the record grow more giant with each song. For a more commercial powerhouse type band, this would likely result in an annoying, cloying mess (i.e. Imagine Dragons, Foo Fighters), but Foxing’s post-Brand New take on Midwestern emo has always conjured the mature balance of post-rock so they pull it off tastefully.
Lyrically, the band also continues to mature with evocative lyrical couplets that don’t place unnecessary blame on anyone, more so capturing grief or nostalgia in an open ended way. On “Lich Pin” the chorus is “I just want real love for you” to contrast the self-hatred of the verses. A break-up is rough, but I think when you’re an adult the tendency should be towards this type of sentiment rather than pinning all the problems of another.
“You think I must not remember/but I do” on “Bastardizer” sticks out. In the context of a song, it’s simply an angry note to a dead-beat father, but by speaking about memory the group achieve a more mature vagueness. allowing the phrase to speak for itself. It could be a note to someone you care for, letting them know that you do remember all the little things that made the relationship important. The real strength of Foxing on this album is their way of telling detailed stories that also have a few little phrases that stick out and burn into your memory on first listen.
Foxing sound like a passionate, beautiful group of souls on here. Think this album will be around for a while.
Quick side-note: I make reference to Brand New a little bit in this review and link to a review of their music. Although I like their music and I think their influence holds true for Foxing, I do not mean to endorse the band at this point nor do I listen to them anymore due to the disturbing allegations against front-man Jesse Lacy.
If you didn’t know about this they are here (trigger warning for sexual assault and child grooming): https://pitchfork.com/news/two-alleged-victims-of-brand-news-jesse-lacey-detail-years-of-sexual-exploitation-of-minors/
I encourage you to read this essay if the band remains a part of your listening habits.