Monday, September 24, 2018

Vinyl Review: "Well Kept Things" by Foxhole

Well Kept Things
A life well lived, if you ask me, is full of twists and turns. The lady who became my wife told me that she never wanted to be bored.

Also, apparently, blasting King Diamond at full volume is in fact boring based on her reactions.

Upon originally hearing that, it seemed that it was merely a compliment to myself. When my mood is good and my demons are at bay, it can be hard to determine what I'm going to do next.

Looking deeper though, it never really occurred to me that my life was terribly boring. When  you go back that decade and check out the mix CDs that lived in my'd see that they have pretty much the same songs that are on the mix tape that was recently unearthed in our home.

It never really occurred to me that my life had become more than routine, more than scripted, more than predictable. It had become desperately dull.

In fact, my wife is a big part of where I am now in terms of music because she asked me to tag along to see Excene Cervanka and the Original Sinners....

It happened the day I returned home from Cleveland, OH. As I was walking up the stairs, that ever so familiar site caught my eyes...the vinyl mailer.

A quick scan of my memories determined that there was nothing outstanding on mail order. This simply had to be a promo vinyl. Who could it be?

It turns out it's the latest album by the newly reformed instrumental progressive post rock crew Foxhole. No, I didn't try to put any extra words in there... You're crazy.

Upon reading this Foxhole fans will most likely come to a conclusion that they're not familiar to me. A reunion album is always a good story. Think about how many reunion concerts you attended where they ever released an album.

Hell, between two Dio Sabbath reunions and four Ozzy Sabbath reunions, we only got one album for each line up. Kiss never released a reunion album. Cream. Led Zeppelin.

Just think about all of those shows, live albums, etc that you, me, and the all of us have consumed. There are very few new studio albums that come after they have our money.

So, Foxhole's first album in 12 years catches my eye...and ear

The only thing is it's kind of like Mitch Hedberg meeting Peter Frampton....I'm not familiar with their body of work, but I'm not going to ask about toast.

Instrumental records are the hardest for me to review. If anyone looked through my vinyl collection, it's plain to see that a lack of vocals is not a deal breaker for me. What draws me to a band first is the riffage. This is a big part of why metal is so moving for me. The almighty guitar riff.

Being as the post genres are still a bit confusing to me, it's been decided that that this topic won't even be broached, but what is post-rock instrumental?

What Well Kept Things has is the right mode for melodic instrumental rock. Our human minds are so conditioned to expect a vocal melody. This simple fact makes the "vocally inspired" instrumentals so pleasing. Steve Vai has made a splendid career out of this.

Unlike Vai, Foxhole switches up the lead instruments. It might be a saxophone, a guitar, the drums, or even some space age keyboards.

Splatter tease
This keeps them from being boring. Let's be honest, there are very few people in the world who can take one instrument and make it as expressive and diverse as Vai does with his guitar. Not even Tosin Abasi or John 5 can do that.

And those two gentlemen are absolute wizards on the guitar.

Foxhole uses the majesty of intertwining opposing lines on the guitar and bass, drums and keyboards, etc in order to paint a beautiful picture.

These fellows don't have the musical prowess of any of the previously name dropped instrumentalists, but they do have a wizardry about them that few in this world can seem to have.

Play it quietly, and it's something soft and mellow, but when the volume is increased, it begins to take on a different timbre. It becomes angrier, grittier, and nearly metal. this pours through, they almost seem to remember themselves while still they head on into country music.

Work that out....because I've got nothing.

Apart from the opening track's doo doo doo's and the closer's full fledged vocals, this album is wholly instrumental. In order to be a successful instrumental tune, one has to not miss vocals and lyrics.

Foxhole has achieved that in a glorious way.

My disc is a beautiful milky, clear swirl with several other non-matching colors. Upon my arrival to the colored variant world of vinyl, I didn't know that many times splatters, mixes, whathaveyous are often used and reused. It's refreshing to see a record that's got all the delicious swirls that aren't in my collection.

The vinyl itself sounds beautiful. It's flat as a pancake and there's zero surface noise. It's a perfect pressing in every way. It sounds rich and full on my set up.

The sleeve is a simple pink cardboard sleeve with a black design in thin lines across the front. The title of the album is set into the cardboard. It's not easy to see because there's no ink in the lines.

Release: 9/28/18 Pre-Order Facebook

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