I first explored the musical world of Foxanne back in 2015, when they released their first musical project under the careful guidance of Chelsea Gohd. Well, she’s back again with another fascinating look into the world of compositional excellence with a brand-new EP titled, Halfling. The record has been released by Brooklyn-based GoodEye Records. This reasonably new indie label is intent on releasing music of all genres that present engaging, challenging and enriching narratives with high-quality visual companions to match.
Halfling features six brand new songs from the mind of Gohd. And while she has enlisted help from her strong band and additional guests, the musical soul is pure Gohd. Powerful, sweet and adventurous indie music, Foxanne is a new dynamic force on the scene. Located in the New Jersey/New York City area, Foxanne is bringing wild energy with a relatable pop vibe to their audience. Foxanne has recently played at venues like Shea Stadium, the Knitting Factory and Cake Shop with artists like Vita and the Woolf and Letters to Nepal.
Foxanne recorded their debut studio EP with Pat Noon of Eightsixteen Studios who has previously worked with the Front Bottoms, River City Extension, and many others. They are eager to showcase their sound in a complete and polished release, and to tour extensively with this new EP, spreading the love across the globe. The band will next be live at the Barca City Café and Bar in New Brunswick, NJ on Thursday, May 17, along with special guest Jesse Elliot.
But before we discuss the live shows, let’s take a look at the music that makes up Halfling and see just what separates Foxanne from so many other local bands that we see on a weekly basis.
“Queen of the Lost Boys” starts things out. Gohd kicks things off with her A capella vocal as a solo before the band comes in. She has a very surreal Bjork flavor to her style, and the musicians compliment her style perfectly. There is no overplaying or bravado as Gohd soars across the universe of the composition. Guitars drone and chirp, delivering melodic goodness as bass and drums steady the back end and allow Gohd to do her thing. And her stuff is good as gold. Gohd’s voice is pure dynamics as she moves from full-throated passages to hiccups and lilting highs. The song clocks in at 5:03 and is a well-played minimalistic jaunt into the age-old topic of relationships and love.
“Heavy Dog” is up next and features the haunting background vocal assist of Jeff Taylor. Gohd tells the tale of a dying relationship, likening that to a “Heavy Dog” coming to the end of its time. Her inspiration for guitar comes from Devendra Banhart and is the central theme of the compositional direction. This song is just Chelsea and guitar, and it’s a beautiful and soulful song. Ambient and golden by nature, there is no unnecessary playing going on here. Guitar and voice tell the story, and it stands on its own with grace and style.
“Whiskey and Strawberries” is next. This is where the band grooves. Bandmates Michael Harris and Andrew Funcheon lay down a tight and happening rhythm as Foxanne plays bare bones guitar and sings us all into a religious experience. Both bluesy and alternative in nature, “Whiskey and Strawberries” is a smoky romp through the pleasures of love, and lust, and more — and it’s a winner! Coming in shorter at 3:31, it’s sure to please radio searching for alternatives to the boring pop-rock we hear every day.
Foxanne reaches into their bag of tricks and pulls out their next wonder called “Little Hands.” I love Chelsea’s non-lyrical vocal parts on this one as they act as individual hooks in alliance with the verses, bridges, and choruses. I love the solo bass work and intricate percussive drum style from Harris and Funcheon who centralize the songs lifeblood as Foxanne lilts and reaches for some of the most original vocal places that I’ve heard in some time. Once again, very fluid songwriting and performance within their self-made boundary.
“Tell Me” is next and demonstrates the talent of a band that can change the style and still breathe consistency into a group of songs. This is one of my favorites so far and features surf-tinged guitars, organs and a subdued, clock-like rhythmic section. The song rolls gently as Chelsea croons into her choruses. It’s a magical thing when you can make bass, drums and one guitar sound so large, as they do here. This is a mix of 1950s pop and a modern look into the exploratory composition. Tender and romantic in nature, “Tell Me” is a wondrous ode to love all wrapped up in a classy presentation of presentation and panache.
The last song on the disc is called “Big Mouth.” Foxanne blends sound effects with random rhythm goodness and odd, off-kilter guitars that lead to an even more unusual chorus. But as bizarre as it might seem, it works well. Foxanne could never be accused of doing the same old thing, and this song is an excellent representation of the band and the direction they’re heading to. Once again, Chelsea’s vocal abilities are fascinating to listen to as she puts herself through her paces in this odd but exciting tune. Guitars chime and grind as bass and drums nail this more massive sounding song to the tarmac.
Foxanne did quite well back in 2015 when they first hit the scene, but Halfling will be the vehicle that will get them noticed and send them further along on their musical journey. Well-written songs combined with top-shelf vocals and impeccable performance work puts Halfling high on my list of springtime releases that I would recommend finding.
And as noted earlier, if you want to see Foxanne play these (and other) songs live, head over to Barca City Café and Bar in New Brunswick, NJ on Thursday, May 17 and see Foxanne along with special guest Jesse Elliot.
For more information on Foxanne and Halfling, head over to foxanne-music.com.