I’ll be honest: Black Foxxes may have just released my favorite album of the year (so far).
It seems like lately, it’s not often that I come across music that resonates so deeply with me, especially since my job is to sift through music daily. Somehow, though, the UK-based alternative rock band struck a chord with me. Upon hearing their single, “Whatever Lets You Cope,” I searched for everything they’d ever released. I wasn’t disappointed by anything that I heard. Nor was I disappointed after hearing the rest of their debut album, I’m Not Well, a few weeks later.
It took a while for me to realize why the music had hit me the way it had. Black Foxxes are a band that are a lot different than anything I listen to. Yet, at the same time, they’re everything that I’ve wanted out of music.
Black Foxxes Channels Negative Emotions into Positives
I’m Not Well contains an important introspection into emotion. Specifically, it seems to look at depression. That’s why I was so attached to the music right away. Rather than dealing with menial things, frontman Mark Holley confronts his demons.
The first track, which is also the title track, is evidence of this. “I’m not well / Teach me to breathe,” croons Holley. Presented over a picked clean guitar at first, the song quickly becomes a crunchy, grungy event. With the change in sound comes more power and more emotion. It’s easy to see this music as a coping mechanism for Holley, a way to express himself.
“River” is a remake of a previously released track. I was worried, after hearing the original, that it wouldn’t have as much impact. However, my worries were dashed almost immediately upon hearing the new release. Other than trimming some fat and making a few additions, the song is just as good as, if not better than, the original.
“My mind, it always haunts me,” sings Holley in “Maple Summer,” presenting more introspection into his wellness. It’s a continued theme. The entire album focuses on Holley’s emotion and mental state. Rather than coming across as droning on about his problems, however, the album becomes a sounding board for others that are experiencing the same problems. Continuing with “Bronte,” Holley sings “I was physically drained” in regards to his shame and anger. “All I had that day was pain,” he continues. It’s an important narrative look into the way that mental health effects all aspects of life.
Sing Slow Jams Forever
The last third of the the album, which is often reserved for filler, is anything but. “Home” is an ode to wanting to be alone. It’s something that I often feel as an introvert. Sometimes, you just have to be by yourself. This song channels that.
“All I see is the air that I need” really hits hard in “Slow Jams Forever.” I think the message here is again about the physical aspects of mental health. That, perhaps, it’s sometimes hard to breathe. When you’re bogged down and unwell emotionally, it can make it difficult to do normal activity.
The album ends with “Pines,” a more instrumentally experimental song compared to the rest of the album. It’s a fantastic end to a a superb release. I can see this being played live with a lot of effects. It could easily be turned into a grunge lovers dream.
While I may have gotten off tangent a bit throughout this, I have to say that I think that this release is important. It’s important both for Holley, who has openly talked about his mental health, and those who are the same situation. Music is an important healing factor for many. I’m Not Well is perfect for those that want something they can relate to.