Foxing - Nearer My God (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Nearer My God (2018)

Triple Crown

Foxing’s first two albums The Albatross and Dealer earned them a loyal fan base and a secure spot in emo’s newest wave. Nearer My God tears down almost everything that came before it, creating something new and beautiful.

“I want it all,” starts the title track, a sentiment crystal clear over the album’s roughly hour-long runtime. Foxing brought in Chris Walla (of Death Cab for Cutie fame) and attempted to make a “classic” album. Co-producing with guitarist Eric Hudson, Walla helped them ditch the straightforward emo in exchange for this glorious amalgamation. “Bastardizer” un-ironically uses bagpipes. “Heartbeats” has an orchestra. “Five Cups” is nine minutes of catharsis for Murphy. The title track has been released in English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese. And then there’s “Gameshark,” the pre-release single that sells the record. The song is a glitched-out roller coaster ride into hell: “Gainer from the balcony, swan dive into the concrete, they served venison and morphine, Nobel’d you for your good deeds,” it begins, only getting more visual from there.

Thematically, Nearer My God is dark. Christian references are littered throughout and Murphy constantly sounds on edge. “Crown Candy” would fit perfectly on Cursive’s Happy Hollow. Murphy delivers lines like, “Hand me the keys and the crucifix” and “I’m shock collared at the gates of heaven!” with a clarity that comes from awareness. And his discomfort always has a soundtrack that fits. One-two punch "Grand Paradise" and "Slapstick" both benefit from a quieter opening followed by a uniform explosion of liberation for the band.

It’s safe to say Walla achieved his goal, adding another excellent album to his already impressive discography. Foxing’s giant leap takes them away from their emo upbringing and should place them among contemporaries like Portugal. The Man, Alt-J and Glass Animals. They’ve risked everything for this album and their desire for something greater. I’m calling it now: Foxing’s Nearer My God is the album of the year.