THE FOXHOLES – Hex

The Foxholes 2021

THE FOXHOLES –
Hex

Stripping their nuanced assault from voices, Barcelonan ensemble fight fire with fire.

Eradicating witchery has been on European agenda for so long that the medieval evil still echoes across the ages, and this trio, hailing from Catalonia where no less than 400 executions took place back in the day, are too aware of it. And since no words can describe the injustice, a follow-up to "Foxholesque" – the group’s most vocal album – emerges as a fully instrumental, yet equally eloquent, work whose five finely textured pieces pack a powerful punch thanks not only to riveting tunes but also to dynamic range which is devoid of human voice and, therefore, is free to focus on pure feelings.

As a result, it doesn’t really matter that the titular opener lasts only for two minutes while its epic finale “Hexe” stops at fifteen, the former, an overture of sorts, setting ivory dewdrops against a gradually thickening and often throbbing background of orchestral scope, and the latter slowly building momentum to sprinkle the record’s riff-ravaged cosmos with delicate, dry electronica and violin sweep, and tie together the already familiar themes from earlier tracks. However, if “Quarz” fills a tectonic rift with dance groove and Jonah A. Luke’s uplifting guitar figures and faux symphonic passages, “Elvira” bounces on Ángel Millán’s imaginative beats and Max Moritz’s bass rumble which support the lysergic synthesizers’ assault on a glitterball – abetted by six strings but keeping the cut’s rock facet to the shoegaze minimum.

This is why the sprawling “Corey” places the preceding numbers’ elements onto a single, unhurriedly shifting landscape to create an arresting panorama – dramatic yet never dark – and wildly swing a few tunes over the aural picture before acoustic strum and children choir strike a chord and contrast with the trio’s immense sonic sway and captivating harmonies. Bewitching! would be the proper epithet for the trio’s ninth studio effort, and there’s no better way to put an end to the evil yore.

*****

October 24, 2021

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