On first inspection Noxious Foxes‘ “Légs” could be mistaken for another in the ever increasing catalogue of releases that may be filed under “Smart Arse” or “Post Rock”. Track names such as ‘Illegal Beagle’, ‘Wherever Hugo, Guido’ and ‘A Real Leonard DiCaprio Shit’, although amusing and enticing to this reviewer, may not tempt the casual listener to investigate further.
Brooklyn based Noxious Foxes are Richard Levengood on drums and Justin Talbott on guitars and keyboards, and on this release they are using their intelligence and creativity to produce instrumental music that should be coming from a band of at least twice that size. “Légs” is not an album of smooth changes and emotional intensity, it is cool, geometrical and sharp, the time signatures are not for the listener who has come along to tap their toe to an endearing melody.
The album gives the listener the impression the musicians were using the recording studio as an experiment, and we are merely onlookers to their research. The drums can be frenetic, the guitars pointed and clinical. It could be argued the album lacks levels of mood, lacks light and shade and any points of outstanding beauty to differentiate it from any other album that can be so dismissively labelled “math rock”.
Many of the tracks, rather than building on textures and dynamics, launch into their mathematical onslaught, and leave the listener stupefied. A track such as ‘Blowflexcellent’ adheres to the classic progressive rule of seemingly pasting several disparate tunes together to make the whole. One could certainly level the accusation that the album lacks soul or character. You will certainly not be humming these tunes on your commute home from work. This is not to say that “Légs” is not appealing on other accounts, and it would be reductionist to dismiss it on the criticisms levelled above. If soul and character are indeed what you crave in your listening pleasure, there are a myriad other places to gratify.
If you like your music clustered, intricate and chaotic, if you want your music to provoke, motivate and inspire, if you are the kind of listener who sits quietly actually hearing the music and are not simply content to use it as background noise, if you wish for your music to challenge others to think there may be other ways of entertaining people, then the music of Noxious Foxes may be just what you were looking for.