Foxes! - Foxes!
Who would have thought that a cassette tape (yes it was that long ago) given away free with a weekly music inkie (the NME since you ask) would still hang like the proverbial albatross around the necks of any band daring enough to jangle rather than rock? Any vaguely twee band with cute, usually but not predominantly, female vocals are casually dismissed with the accusation that they're little more than C86 revivalists. If they can body swerve that they open themselves up to the charge that they're Sarah Records fellow travellers.
On their self titled debut album Foxes! don't really help themselves. They jangle more than a wind chime factory in a hurricane, they have more than the requisite quantity of cute, female vocals and a track called 'The Panda Bear Song'. They even include a song about breaking down in tears when a friend said he'd vote for Borderville in the battle of bands ('Alex Badamchi'). They couldn't be more twee if they wrapped themselves in Cath Kidson wallpaper and performed at a Laura Ashley garden party.
But it's not all fun, sun, cherryade and summer dresses in the world of Foxes!. 'Who Killed Rob' may sound sweeter than a honey coated barley sugar twist but it's a tale of a cyclist being knocked down. 'It's Ridiculous, Adam' is Lesley Gore's tear jerker 'It's My Party' re-imagined for the 21st century, a wedge of casio pop that'll have your feet dancing while your heart breaks. The album's final track 'Descartes' includes references to headstones, drowning, suicide, canine anal cancer and dying goldfish. Not even miserable old Morrissey dared to write lyrics about anal cancer, or dying goldfish come to think of it!
What sets these cunning canids apart from their twee compadres is that they don't stick rigidly to the suffocating twee template. 'Oh Rosie' is a frantic rockabilly pace setter that rocks like it's life depends on it before reaching an anthemic climax. 'Welcome To The Jivin' starts off like a 1950s commercial before settling into a 1960s pure pop groove.
Don't be put off by the twee coating there is more to these cunning canids than meets the eye. From surprisingly dark subject matter to the occasional foray into rockier territory Foxes! is the first truly post-twee album. Now can we all forget C86 and set our bands free to be twee.
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