The opening bars of Fox and the Law’s third album ‘Stoned to Death’ are the battle cry of a band who get straight down to business. With their latest foray into joining the worlds of blues and garage rock, the Seattle quartet have not sought to pull a single punch.
‘Cheap Talk’ is the kind of opener to send a Planet Rock listener’s pacemaker into overdrive, and while coming in twenty seconds shy of the three minute mark, there is still plenty of energy to get the band’s engines well and truly fired up early on. There’s something of a Last Vegas, Wolfmother-esque feel, and ‘Hot Water’ carries that on with a resounding passion. The unpolished, roomy sound of the drums keeps the garage sound nailed down, while the rest of the band thrash out a cutting assertion that a jack of all trades certainly can master some pretty well.
There is a bit of everything in the recipe for Fox and the Law, and the four-piece certainly haven’t been scant on channeling their influences. The raw power of the Stooges meets the extravagant “look at me and nothing else” display of Guns N’ Roses, with the end result a mesmerising rollercoaster of hooks and balls.
‘Nod to the Devil’, ‘Let it Ride’ and ‘Emily’ form a trio of tracks that the currently Royal Blood-obsessed music industry should be falling head over heels to get out on the airwaves. The fact is though, that while two Brightoners continue to smash records in their infancy, this particular Washington quartet are still working on that first big splash. Perhaps it’s a case of home-grown talent edging out the imported competition, but perhaps Fox and the Law are their own worst enemies when it comes to their attempts to make everything work. The outfit clearly have a lot of influences on their multi-textured sound, but while the end product will certainly raise eyebrows, it’s unfortunate to get to the end of the record and find that only the occasional lyric or solo has stuck with you.
There’s a whole truckload of ingredients that make up Fox and the Law’s sound, but little done to define themselves. All power and no direction it might seem, with multiple listens of ‘Stoned to Death’ necessary before the songs really begin to stay with you. It’s lucky then, that tracks like ‘Up All Night’, ‘Ripped Off’ and ‘Hot Water’ keep you coming back for more. The latter’s chorus really is an album highlight, fast-paced and full of the attitude that should prove a catalyst for Fox and the Law nailing down the killer album they are clearly capable of.
There is a lot to Fox and the Law, then, and a lot to digest in the half hour of music provided by ‘Stoned to Death’. At the heart of it all, however, is undeniable potential and a real magnetism pulling you closer in with every listen. It’s not often you get to say this and mean it but it really does seem like the breakout of Fox and the Law is a matter of when over if. With all the pieces of the puzzle available at their disposal, the only step left is to fit it all together and that, you would imagine, is not going to be too far away.
‘Stoned to Death’ by Fox and the Law is out now on Failure by Design Records.
Words by Antony Lusmore (@Metacosmica_)