W!nslow - No Place for Foxes (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


No Place for Foxes (2010)


Look closer. Yep, there's an exclamation point there. It could be forgiven, but Ontario's W!nslow produce a debut full-length in No Place for Foxes that bears an unfortunately flimsy mix of pop- and skatepunk styles with a tinge of hardcore influence that only hurts their lack of rigidity even more.

There's a wild, wavery voice on the first real track, "Kiss It Till It Bleds," brings to mind the Matches' Shawn Harris with some screamier tendencies. "Cheese and Crackwhores" (eh) sounds like early 2000s MP3.com leftovers until it reels into these random fast parts; there's just no real cohesiveness to it and the transitions are completely shoehorned.

Though the gritty, harried chorus in "Wreckless Disregard" sounds pretty promising and well done in a Flatliners-style sense, there's some out-of-place, jarring vocal yelps at the end of the verses where it sounds like they let Patrick Stump guest on the song, and the transition to its "breakdown" is weak; the breakdown itself is a forced, growled affair that makes no real sense within the context of the track. They also let lumbering "mosh parts" or whatever they could be called ruin an almost A Wilhelm Scream meets Lifetime-ish vibe to "Why I Oughtta"; I know there's some facetiousness to the bellowed "OH!" that'll precede their breakdowns, but still.

As the band guide the rest of the album along with its occasional Blink-182 guitar tones, practical Chris Demakes appearance on "Grill Em Like Gangsters" and otherwise more straightforward cuts like "Remember When We Were Young?", things seem to smooth out a little bit, but the tracks themselves still aren't much to write home about. Only the emotional resonance to the instrumental foundation of the more serious "Text Message" seems to stick out at all.

There's an admirable scrappiness to how this album proceeds, but that's all it really has going for it. While No Place for Foxes professes to have some great influences in place (Lifetime, the Lawrence Arms, Tragedy [whether that's the band or the condition of human suffering, I'm not sure, but either would ideally make for great inspiration]), its spastic, unfocused execution leaves entirely too much to be desired.

Wreckless Disregard
Kick You When You're Down
Pretty in the Dark
Grill Em Like Gangstas
Salt Water Traffic
Save the Last for Best