It’s almost as if the abrupt release of Noxious Foxes’ quasi-eponymous release Roxious Soxes had a poetic intention. In a time where math rock musicians are turning to safe, cleanly-tapped serenades, the looping duo valiantly provide the opposite, a record that throws all trace of coherent structure into the recycle bin. We sanctimonious folk in math rock press, treating you to shade from our multiple story pedestals, we were all proud as punch when we heard this. We carry the same sentiment we held when the band released Légs and Epochalypso: here’s a band doing math rock correctly.
There are three critical elements to Roxious Soxes, and their back catalogue, that reflect these sentiments nicely.
(i) Rhythm – The metrical complexity of Roxious Soxes is almost bewildering. Drummer Richard Levengood’s intense polyrhythmic percussion in tracks like ‘Goldman Ball Sachs’ and ‘Peekaboobies’ make exceptional use of musical space. Rather than partition their sound neatly into divisive pulses, Noxious Foxes provide percussive excess bearing genuine similarity to classic math rock duos like Cheval de Frise and Hella.
(ii) Tones – Complementing their frenetic percussion is Justin Talbott’s zany range of keys and guitar effects. ‘Abraham LinkedIn’ is an evident highlight here; the overlapping quirky keys opening the track almost sound like an army of broken toys. The almost cartoon-like flavour of sounds in Roxious Soxes gives it a wild humor, one that worked so well in Battles‘ Gloss Drop.
(iii) Loops – Noxious Foxes’ use of guitar looping is exceptional. Roxious Foxes illustrates the band’s flair in stacking layers of melody atop one another, ascending to the point of overburden and excess but never crossing it. In fact, they flirt with it; they create a sound that is so packed with stimuli that it could burst at any moment. The engineering associated with this must indeed be mathematically precise, to not only build these multiple guitar and key loops but also insert these loops into the irregular time signatures abundant in their releases.
Roxious Soxes, like every Noxious Foxes release, is a deliciously disjointed aural playground, showcasing these three quintessential properties of the band. Herein is everything we look for in math rock: controlled chaos that appears impossible to parse but easy to enjoy.
Math Rock, wacky, looping, experimental, odd rhythms, instrumental, free