Posted on July 7th, 2015 (12:00 pm) by Michael Negron

Variously described as “stoner glam,” “slam-grunge,” and “kind-of Jet,” the adjective-inspiring Seattle-based Fox and the Law have been refashioning ‘70s-styled southern-tinged riffs into garage-rock revival for a while now. Now on their fourth album in as many years, the group is in a place many other bands find themselves in; with a sound so familiar, they have to change something up. The Trouble With People takes inspiration from a veritable buffet of influences, disjointed and disparate, making for a sound that is simultaneously dated, retro, and too dated to be retro.

You have to give Fox and the Law credit for the sheer complexity it takes to accurately describe the sound they’ve created; they don’t take the easy way out and make a corny, years-late cash-in on revivals of revivals, oh no, that would be too easy. Trouble is corny and years late, sure, but a cash-in? Not in the slightest. Fox and the Law go all-out in what can only be a lack of self-awareness or a lack of giving a shit. We’re more inclined to believe the latter due to the simple grandiosity and even absurdity of what they’ve envisioned; instead of just taking one sound that’s been rehashed to oblivion, they recklessly mix a whole bunch of sounds that have been done to death and have no reason to work together, but honestly, it kind of works.

Just look at the setup: single (and best track) in the front, of course, front-loaded to the max, left-field instrumental slapped in the middle, all rounded off to the longest track, which itself features the album’s oddest deviation toward the end in terms of a wall of fuzz that just unceremoniously stops in the middle of a guitar recap. Within that structure, you not only get some Molly Hatchet riffs, you get them with Strokes vocal effects, Hives energy, and lackadaisical production that fits that perfect “not giving a shit” to “sounding like shit” ratio every quasi-garage act fights to achieve.

Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? Who would even think that would work in 2015? Better yet, how DOES it work in 2015? There are a number of ways you could think about it: maybe the genre has reached peak saturation and anything different sounds appealing; maybe Fox and the Law are the harbingers of a new mix-and-match take on those old ideas. A simpler way to explain it is this: they have the right attitude, they know how to write, and they get out before it gets old.

None of this removes the limitations Fox and the Law have made for themselves. If anything, it’s only boxed them in further, pushing them away from what elevates them above the Jets of the world: they’re not a novelty act. While they might occupy the same general sound-space, Fox and the Law have that gift of making scuzz appealing, which is way more than can be said for some of the other name-drops in this review. For that reason, The Trouble With People might enjoy some wider appreciation than you might expect, but it’s much more of an anomaly than a proof of concept.

Track List:

  1. Dirty Hands
  2. The Trouble With The Gods
  3. Bad Motivator
  4. Mercedez Benz
  5. The Trouble With Love
  6. The Trouble With People
  7. The Rapture
  8. Holy Grail
  9. Present Tense
Fox and the Law - The Trouble With People
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

60 / 100
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