reviewed by Laura Stanley
During a search for Saskatchewan-based musicians for my friend and fellow Grayowl Point writer, Madeleine Cummings’, trip to the great Canadian prairies, I came across Foxwarren. A collaborative effort from Avery Kissick, Dallas Bryson, Darryl Kissick, and soft-spoken folk singer Andy Shauf, Foxwarren released their small album, Has Been Defeated, earlier this year.
Has Been Defeated brings together the tenderness of folk music, a bit of punk, and alternative-rock with extremely well-versed and descriptive lyrics written by both Kissick and Shauf.
“Retreated” begins the album with a thumping bass drum and the rattles of drinks filled with ice. “‘God damn you all,’ I used to say. ‘I’ve outgrown you, there’s nothing to make me stay,’” sings Shauf in the album opener. This one line is just a small example of the great story-telling quality of the lyrics throughout.
For fans of We Are The City, “Car Wreck” features the same energetic qualities as the B.C. band, thanks to a simplistic yet powerful guitar and drum combination.
The beautiful, “Your Small Town” is one of the more folkier songs in the album, featuring the beautiful voice of Shauf. In the middle of the song, there is a small section of chaotic instrumentation which leads to the repetition of the line, “If you’re gonna leave, then leave me be.”
Both “Robins Sing” and “Crickets Ring” are quiet instrumental tracks while the latter song ends the album off wonderfully. The truly amazing piano driven track, sounds almost like that of a song from the new Bon Iver record.
With most of the songs coming in around the three minute mark or under, the emotional depth of the record is astounding. The atmosphere in “Your Small Town” does well to describe the album as a whole. Has Been Defeated is able to capture simplistic moments with ease, thanks to brilliant songwriting, but throws in these bits of chaos that are unexpected yet wonderful at the same time.
Has Been Defeated is available through Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “Your Small Town,” “Car Wreck,” “Crickets Ring”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really good) + *Swoop*