Every now and then I come across an artist that seems to know something everyone else doesn’t. It’s like we’ve been doing it wrong all along. Fox Academy certainly knows what’s up with their latest LP Angel Hair and I’m not sure if they’re too keen in telling. Describing their sound is a daunting task, it’s frame of indie pop is sprinkled with beats of lo-fi hiphop. This is where conventions end however, as their use of samples range from natural sounds, kitchen cupboard utensils and even sports commentary.
The band demonstrates an innate ability to romanticize mundane emotions with their full sound and vivid descriptions of ordinary life, adding in a cinematic grandeur to regular weekends under the sun, or rainy days cooped up in a sickbed. Vocal layers are stacked together to get that choral effect, it does sound muddy in some cases but at the same time it evokes a chill and melancholic mood — like individual droplets of rain falling on a window.
There’s a narrative of illness and recovery in this album that starts with “Apple”. It expresses regret over an episode of illness and the sorrow of having to stay in bed to recover, missing games of pickup basketball in the summer. “Lifestyle magazine” follows this gloom with a cinematic flair. Life goes on around him as he sits still while having Simpsons on the TV. The lo-fi airiness of the harmonies makes this feel like an out of body experience. In “Duffle”, he finally comes home home: “Tell myself I’m fine and I’m feeling better.” and finds a newfound appreciation for his family in the line: “Showered with love, I am at home.”
“Make me cry” despite its title, is the brightest track in the album. It depicts a lovely Sunday morning where our character proclaims “I’m finally feeling healthy”, He enjoys his time outside and “Everything makes me cry / I love it everytime”. Night descends in “Nascar”, and we sit down and appreciate the sunset. There’s vivid lyrical imagery everywhere: “Sharp turn / Dim light/ Strip mall/ Street fight” and with a lovely hook in “Sky looks like nascar / Easter pink colors / Racecars.”
The drapes fall down again at “Lobby”. Somber guitars backed by ghostly voices paint a grim picture as our character prepares to take their own life: “Big truck crashing, flash of light and I’m gone”, with an ominous sample of an emergency call played in the background. All is not lost however as he enjoys a new lease in life in “Property brothers” appreciating all the care he receives. “I was born again” he sings in a hopeful melody. In the closing track “Sick day” he declares, “I love everything now / this feels special”.Fox Academy’s approach in telling this story is subtly conveyed in little snippets of detail and space is left open for listeners to fill in the blanks. Angel Hair is a mix of old and new, with it’s lo-fi production and modern techniques, but at its heart is a tale of newfound hope, and that’s what makes it real.