Album Review: Foxwarren – Foxwarren

Foxwarren might have formed a little over ten years ago but it’s only at the end of 2018 that they have finally come to release their debut album. A side-project of notable Canadian folk artist Andy Shauf, the band teams him with Dallas Bryson and brothers Daryll and Avery Kissick to bring a new set of sombre and yet soulfully uplifting songs into the world.

Having formed in small towns across miles of Canadian prairies, the band have often struggled to be in one time and space but like nature, they find a way. Eventually joining forces in a recording studio in Saskatchewan the four settled down to make their self-titled debut. As Foxwarren spring to life you first hear the unique, inimitable and enviable vocal stylings of Shauf and there is immediately something peaceful that washes over you. Shauf has an understated and relaxed manner to his songs, rarely raising his voice and instead simply speaking his poetry out into the world – the result is a warm and friendly atmosphere that he crafts in his own image. As his Canadian lilt washes over you it’s tough not to let all of the tension in your body disappear.

This relaxing tone is something that is continued in the music that Foxwarren produce. Like Shauf’s solo work, there is something almost sparse about the accompanying music but there is also something discreetly brazen about it too. There is an almost tangible heart to every song that sometimes feels so close that you can hear it beating. This minimalist style is prominent in all of Shauf’s work but there is something extra hidden away within Foxwarren. Something in there elevates their sound and resonates power from within. There are songs where you can hear the swell of the music and the path that it takes. Their contemporary folk melodies are joined by hints of funk and gospel music as a rich 70s vibe seems to sweep through their laid back work.

Shauf has one of the most distinctive voices in folk music today and with the rest of his band behind him his music seems almost ethereal and otherworldly. There is a tranquillity and peace to it that borders on being hypnotic and there is an element of warmth trapped within each and every word that leaves you feeling completely invigorated at its finish.

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Review by Joe Knipe

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