“The worst thing I could possibly do is be in a band,” says Black Foxxes frontman, Mark Holley, with a dry laugh. “For my mental health, for my physical health… For everything, really. But something always drags me back to writing and performing. It’s like there’s something wired in me.”
One listen to Black Foxxes’ electrifying debut album, I’m Not Well and you’ll be glad Holley’s so helplessly compelled to make music. A righteous cocktail of energy, melody, dynamics and passion in service to Holley’s anguished, cathartic and ultimately uplifting songcraft, Black Foxxes is the sound of triumph over adversity, the sound of the strength of vulnerability. It’s raw, untrammelled, unmediated stuff – let lesser talents glaze over their shortcomings with gloss and distractions. Part of the power of this remarkable record lies in its purity, its simplicity: just the band, their instruments, their songs, and performances of lifetimes. Watch here
Today, the UK outfit release their debut LP I’m Not Well via Search and Destroy // Spinefarm Records. The album premiered on The Independent and follows the debut of their stunning video for single, “Whatever Let’s You Cope,” on Red Bull.
Holley’s lyrics are honest and from the heart. “It’s pretty clear what a song like I’m Not Well is about,” he snaps, and the album’s tales of overcoming obstacles and winning hard struggles are close to his heart and own experiences. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease he suffers from severe anxiety, though he’s not allowed either condition to hold him back; indeed, you’ll half-suspect that, in truth, they’ve gee’d him further on towards his dreams. “It is what it is,” he says, of the songs’ subject matter. “They’re about illness, and being a kid. With my condition, I’ve had people say stupid shit. And there’s some things I can’t do, but what I *can do is write songs, and try my fucking hardest.”
Their every effort is audible on this naked, lacerating album: rock music that finds its power in its vulnerability, that never compromises its sincerity and honesty for trying to seem pretty, to seem perfect. Listen close and you’ll hear sweat dripping from fingers and onto fretboards, and drum-sticks begin to splinter. Listen closer still, and maybe you’ll hear your own synapses trigger, your heart beat faster. This is music that wears its anguish on its sleeve, but is never enslaved by it. This is music that is heroic not in its swagger, but in the truths it contains, expressed by a rhythm section that rolls with the grace and heft of a savage tide, guitars that lash and thunder like a violent storm, and vocals that scream and howl with searing, irresistible directness.
“I want to push music back into the public eye,” says Holley. “Good, honest music, instead of generic crap. The dream is, we become the biggest band in the world, right?”
It’s not a bad dream. And with talent like this, it could even come true.
US TOUR DATES:
Sept. 13: Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
Sept. 14: Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY
Sept. 17: Riot Fest (Chicago) – Chicago, IL
Sept. 17: Township – Chicago, IL
Sept. 18: Double Door – Chicago, IL
Sept. 20: Viper Room – West Hollywood, CA
Sept. 21: The Satellite – Silver Lake, CA