Monday, 21 August 2017

Album: Ger Fox Sailing - Ger Fox Sailing

Ger Fox Sailing Album

Info: Ger Fox Sailing is a rock band from Wexford made up of singer/songwriter/guitarist Johnny Fox, bassist Richie Mason, guitarist Derren Dempsey and drummer Marc 'Harvey' Hillis. 

The four members' mutual musical relationship dates back to the early 00's when Johnny and Richie were learning their trade with Bengie while Derren and Harvey were melting people's faces with Laminate. Both Wexford bands shared a lot of similar tastes which would see members amalgamate and together and separately pass through other local bands The River Fane and WOLFF.

Ger Fox Sailing is a continuation of this story. The old influences continue to rear their ugly heads (Nirvana, QOTSA, Helmet, Fugazi etc..) but as some of the angst makes way for contemplation and the riffage and precision is combined with increased texture and subtlety, the band is bringing the conversation into new and unfamiliar territory. 

Opener 'Killing Time' certainly echoes back to a late 90's / early 00's sound as it bursts out with rolling guitar riffs and stomping percussion, with a Foo Fighters circa There Is Nothing Left To Lose hard edge, or even further back, Minneapolis alt-rock band Sugar's classic 1992 album Copper Blue. 'What It Is' shifts sound immediately from that starting point however, with a more anarchic post-punk intro before settling into a melodic run of verses. 

With 'Wood From The Trees' Ger Fox Sailing take the foot off the pedal, Johnny Fox's softly-delivered vocal leading us with great calm down a shimmering and meandering stream of subconciousness. After the rapid-fire of 'All That Will Protect' we are drawn once again into that calm slumber on 'Nowhere Without You', as the track develops it comfortably escalates itself onto a higher atmospheric plain that becomes all-encompassing.

'Give Over' is a highlight on the LP, lovely opening guitar riffs and an unusual yet working mix of dark 80's tinged vox with 70's psychedelic folk create an abstract and cinematic mood. On '2017' we are given an 8 minute opus which reflects on the dramatic shifts occurring worldwide presently, reflecting on anxiety, hopelessness, confusion and perceived anarchy on the horizon. The track captures the see-saw between disillusionment and apathy very well, and from it's midway point really kicks in ever so nicely to a rock jam that is captivating.

Closing with 'Best Friend', Ger Fox Sailing unleash the most powerful and energetic moment on the album, insanity and chaos abound, hard bass-lines and guitar progressions tower over a suffocating vocal, and it's bloody wonderful. 

My only reservation about the album is that I'm not sure how it flows from beginning to end, the quality of the musicianship and production are beyond question, but there were points where I felt a bit lost, mainly in its first half. I felt a lot more at home and into it from 'Nowhere Without You' onward where there was much more space for the listener to settle in over consecutive tracks. 

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