Release Date: October 10, 2014
Studio: Independently recorded and produced
Genre: Pop Rock/Indie/Experimental
For Fans of: Brand New, Dashboard Confessional, The Postal Service, Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday, MeWithoutYou
There is a lot of music crowding the 21st century world, produced by thousands of bands that sound too alike to differentiate one from another. Fox Tail Chase makes a stand against such cookie-cutter ubiquity by composing lighthearted, fun-loving and innocuously catchy tunes. Rocking from River Forest, Illinois, this three-piece features five songs of pleasant, electronically-infused pop rock on their upcoming Definitions EP.
Singer, bassist and songwriter Schuyler Pickren seems to acknowledge dozens of influences in the five tracks on Definitions. The band lists seven influences on their Facebook page, but the full span of their sound seems to accommodate more than this. On opening track “Reason,” the band brings their instruments together for a melody and theme that is reminiscent of a pop punk sound, particularly in regards to Pickren’s vocals.
Fox Tail Chase does not fully attain a quality level of production on this EP, and the drums are not mixed high or well enough throughout each song. The kick drum is very flat and somewhat non-existent on the more rock-based tracks of Definitions. This is only partly made up by Pickren’s writing and instrumental execution. This far into Definitions alone, Fox Tail Chase seems to appeal to fans of clear-cut pop rock and most pop punk bands.
On “Bathwater,” the band instantly shakes things up by dishing up a new vibe. Use of keys and pads are brought in, as Fox Tail Chase dons a primarily electronic mood. They manage to keep the instrumentation light, as Pickren applies reverberation and other elements to his vocal lines. Fox Tail Chase is highly talented at composing vocal-centric music, which aids them in their inclination to diversify their other sonic capacities.
The band brings the mood down a bit further on “Hiding” as they use piano, more despondent lyrical and vocal lines and generally dampened instrumental expressions. This is a relatively uncommon idea for structuring and composition in music, but Fox Tail Chase pulls it off successfully. Continuing right along with their versatile musical abilities and tastes, “Worked” is a vibrant, upbeat track, resembling the energy on opener “Reason.”
Some of the only weaker areas on Definitions are the production quality, and at times, the vocal volume. On “Worked,” an effect is used on Pickren’s vocals to make them sound further away and slightly more distorted, but for this song at least, this effect seems to weaken the individuality of the song. “Worked” sounds as though it could have been more involved on the instrumental side, leaving the listener in want.
Closing track “Home” brings the electronic vibe right back, pumping out a steady tempo and rhythm while retaining the band’s propensity for keeping the instruments at a low intensity. Fox Tail Chase purposely uses elements and sections of space in their music to draw attention to specific components of the song, or to the vocals. During the last half of “Home,” the band nails this by keeping instruments very low for a few seconds before bringing full melody right back in. For this very reason, “Home” may be the best track on the EP.
Definitions is a mild but agreeable ride for those who enjoy pop rock, easier-going electronic music, free-spirited indie music and even shoegaze. The Definitions EP will be released on Friday, October 10, 2014. Check out the band’s Facebook page and YouTube channel below.
Underground Examinations is a series of Independent Music Reviews with the intention of giving new music a fair and appropriate opportunity to be enjoyed.
Review by Brad Johnson