In Good Company - Fox Company (self released)

fox-companyI have a bad reputation as a reviewer.  Though 70 percent of my reviews are fanatically positive, I can be harsh on anyone I find not pulling their weight.  But, given the fact I have a collection of several thousand discs, I can’t be THAT fussy, can I?  Christ, all I generally ask is that you don’t scrape your knuckles on the floor.

Fox Company don’t really fit into my preferred choice of listening.  For me, they float uncomfortably close to the world of Guns ’n’ Roses.  But I also know that floating uncomfortably close to the world of Guns ’n’ Roses isn’t necessarily considered to be a bad thing by a huge chunk of people who listen to rock music and, in particular, that chunk of readers who view me as a cranky and crusty old relic.

Fox Company do not surrender to the worst extremes of the genre.  They take a somewhat more Australian slant with less camp feigned masculinity. They carry a slab of beer instead of hard drugs and they have the essential sly wink of humour.  Theirs’ is a highly likable blending of hard rock and pop sensibilities.  There’s no doubt that if they put in the miles, they have the chops to carve themselves a nice little niche in the circuit.  These days, that puts them a good 10 steps ahead of their contemporaries. 

“In Good Company” is the debut five-track EP from this young(ish) Sydney band.  It isn’t a perfect release but it’s an excellent calling card.  The central problem is not with the band itself but in the production values of these recordings which are basically at the level of a superior demo tape.  Strong songwriting and excellent performances are somewhat let down by the liveness of the sound. 

It sounds like the band walked into the studio, set up and played. Whilst that is often the best choice for music in a punkier style, this is a band that’s looking for a foothold outside of that ghetto.  To achieve that, they really needed more of an an eye to the detail.  The power chords needed double tracking.   The vocalist could have gone for another take.  The mixing seems a tad rough.  I’m guessing this was all the budget could bear.   However, if money was the concern, a single may have proven a better use of resources. 

While this disc clearly demonstrates a tight band with good songs and no weak links, essentially, this isn’t the breakout record the band would have dreamt of.  This, however, should be the demo tape that gets them the kind of industry interest they deserve and access to better means of production.

The songs are musically well written with good traditional use of structure and melody.  Great car music.  You just turn up the speakers and watch the miles slide by.  Opener “Dashboard Jesus”, in particular, would make an excellent radio single if radio hadn’t stuck its head up its own arse in the hunt for the next Iggy Azzealia.

The rhythm section is this band’s deadliest weapon.  Max Trew’s drumming has that tight power to spare efficiency that good drummers envy.  Paul’s bouncing bass adds the necessary pop charm to sidestep the genre’s more obvious pitfalls.   Cal’s vocals are good, if not great.  He does everything he should do but needs to play a little more attention to his phrasing rather than allowing himself to get locked in with his rhythm guitar duties.  Notewise, Mark on lead guitar does a fine nuanced job marred by a thinness in the mix.  

Overall, this is a band with a future that I am sure will be better served by future releases.    Don’t get me wrong.  This EP is good work.  It most certainly is worth hearing and there is nothing here that would stand in the way of acquiring a huge young fan base.  What I’m saying is, when they get a decent producer, nobody is going to be asking “who’s Fox Company.”  


Tags: fox company, in good company

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