2018, Music

Foxwarren (2018)

It’s been a while since I encountered a voice that put me off as much as Andy Shauf’s voice does. I don’t know what it is specifically about the voice, though it does sound to me like he is trying not to whine, or something like that, like his voice wants to do something but he is preventing it from doing so.

This should be a big hurdle for me but the good news is that I often like the music around his voice. I know nothing of Foxwarren, I don’t think I’ve ever heard their name before. But their music is pleasant indie pop and indie folk that occasionally enters into chamber pop or, less often, indie rock.

I find their music often departs from the formats and conventions I associate with this genre, with some droning noises (synths? guitars? loops?) or other sonic architecture often taking the place of what you would normally find in a song like this, whether it just be acoustic guitar or piano, or a whole band thing. It’s not so drastic that the music ever approaches other genres, but it’s present enough to provide some interest.

Now, most of the rest of the time the music is quite conventional making those moments stand out. But it’s amiable and pleasant and generally works about as well as this music can work for me. This isn’t high energy music but I do think it is performed and arranged well.

Which brings me back to my biggest issue. I think I would like this record much more even though it is only occasionally unconventional if I liked Shauf’s voice more. But I’ve now listened to multiple records he sings on and I am not getting used to his voice. Every time I begin one of these records I’m like “Oh right, this guy.” And it’s not a good feeling. Every one of us have singers like this but I used to pride myself on my ability to get by something like this. I think for me, one of the issues here is there’s not enough in the music to allow me to overcome my aversion to Shauf’s voice. If it was a more energetic record, or I liked the songs more, maybe I would. But I haven’t yet.

6/10 and it would be higher with a different singer

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