Not quite what I was hoping for from Foxblood.
Melbourne’s Foxblood were back it again this week, gearing up for their next cycle. Taken from the group’s forthcoming 2019 release, ‘Grief & Mercy Sleep‘ (yet to be revealed if a new EP or new album), ‘Carry Me‘ is about the worst parts of ourselves becoming the very worst parts of those that we love. It’s a track touching upon the negative impact our actions and choices can manifest in our friends and families. A destructive theme that’s brought to life with this new song’s music video narrative centring around a man’s love and addiction to the bottom of the bottle; how his drinking ruins his family and thus leaves him alone and destitute. After all, Foxblood’s music has always focused in on the darkest, toughest moments of someone’s life, and this latest cut is also born from such personal lows.
When I first heard this track, I was actually pretty into it. As the single does contain a lot of the band’s decent arrangement approaches (that mix polish, plenty of synths and higher octave guitars), as well as the immediacy of their debut LP, 2016’s stellar ‘The Devil, The Dark & The Rain‘. A great example of the latter hits almost 40 seconds in when the song picks up in rhythmic drive and frontman/screamer Tom Beale goes in with his harsh vocals. At first, on the most basic surface level, I enjoyed ‘Carry Me‘.
However, after some deeper dives, one thing became grossly apparent with ‘Carry Me‘: the absence of former frontman Chris Millward and how staggering his departure has become in the wake of this newest material. Now, let’s be real: Chris wasn’t the greatest of vocalists, but most importantly, he sounded like himself. The dude had conviction and passion in both his clean singing and his screaming, with his well-written metaphors and poetic lyrical story-telling are still second-to-none in the local scene. It all fed so effectively back into the band’s melancholic tones and layered production, making their past music as gripping as it was and still is. You can see this all over some of this band’s best pieces: ‘Bittersweet‘, ‘Die Young‘, ‘Hurricane Hearts‘, and ‘Swan Song‘, just to mention a few great examples.
While not a bad song, and while Tom and bassist/clean singer Anthony Syle are both still more than competent, I just don’t see or feel the same level of power and quality with ‘Carry Me‘. It has some of that old energy, and it has the odd hook, but there is something missing; someone missing. While I’ve never confirmed it to be true, I’ve heard rumours that Chris is actually ghost-writing for the band and has a hand in the behind-the-scenes stuff. True or not, without his vocals being upfront, I’m kinda left wanting now; becoming most apparent with this latest single. For the most part, ‘Carry Me‘ sounds like Foxblood but it isn’t the best form upon which this band can fully achieve. As someone who’s enjoyed their work – both recently with ‘Never Rome‘ (which followed their debut and ‘Bittersweet‘ solidly enough) and back when they were called Glorified and wrote music like this – that makes me pretty dang sad. Perhaps your own mileage will differ: