reviewed by Chris Matei
Victoria’s Fox Glove are a trio influenced by alt-country vibes, choral music chops and cover-band range, named for a beautiful but toxic plant. The steady folk heartbeats and bell-like harmonies on this short but inviting EP certainly evoke their namesake flora.
Mixing pop, folk and bluegrass influences on the bouncy, upbeat “Roll On” creates an invigorating mix, especially as vivid horns join in the final round of choruses. The vocals are bright and sparkling, combined with rustic, rattly guitar and shaker to create the kind of song that would likely work as well around a living room jam session as it does fully fleshed out on record.
The band then reworks the timeless, oft-covered Leonard Cohen classic “Hallelujah” in a lilting haze of banjo and glittery pads. The languid, richly written chorus sections are a lush and haunting departure from the original, and in the verses Chelsea Kanstrup sounds positively aglow with the song’s energies. It’s been some time since a version of this song hasn’t evoked unfortunate memories of the movie Shrek, but cheers to Fox Glove for giving it some new life outside of its largely overwrought musical-emotional context.
“Away We Go” closes the all-too-brief EP on a relatively sombre note, building around a pulsing guitar interval to explore the pull between growing distance and the lust for exploration. There’s another fox-like comparison to be made here: perhaps to Fleet Foxes and the reverb-cloaked, vowel-rich harmonies of Robin Pecknold. Again, the presence of subtle pads underneath the melody helps give the song tension and forward inertia.
This short sample of music from Fox Glove will have listeners longing to hear more of the trio’s work. Their emotive, melodic approach to alternative folk ballads is sure to warm you on a chilly night this coming winter.
Top Tracks: “Roll On”; “Away We Go”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)