Posted on August 27th, 2015 (2:00 pm) by Michael Negron

In a recent interview with Kira Grunenberg, Jon Stenz talked about the experience of forming Foxtrax. After playing "on and off" for a while, everything catalyzed in late 2014: "It was really sort of a moment when…we just kind of realized that we had similar visions…more so than the sound that day." After listening to the New York trio's particular brand of jovial indie rock, it's clear that he couldn't have been more on-point; The Cabin is a short work of consistently pleasant, and at times powerful pop songs, all twinged with that carefree spirit.

The Cabin is composed of 5 songs built on a relatively similar foundation: big hooks, wiry guitars, and emotive lyricism, packaged in a radio-friendly 3 to 4 minutes. If you're thinking you've heard it before, that's because you have; the tonal quality isn't particularly standout, nor is there much deviation in the way of instrumentation or structure. But as is clearly the case with the thousands of great and not-so-great iterations before them, Foxtrax relies on vision and execution to set itself apart. That's a very difficult line to walk, especially in a soundspace as over-saturated as this, but there's also a charm to it when done right. The Cabin expresses this both as excellence and limitation, succeeding in finding its niche but playing into clichés and homogeneity.

There's a difference between simplicity for its own sake and simplicity for lack of concern. While the '90s has shown that slack-rock can prove the latter useful, Foxtrax is about as far removed from apathy as you can get. So it's no surprise that lines like "I don't like the way I feel tonight" strike a chord as much for the honesty of its lyricism as its delivery, while "there are times when I drink, when I need some time to think" ring hollow and hokey. The simple should be a self-evident tool, either out of a clear need for it or a clear lack of need for anything else. To a large extent, this embodies The Cabin as a whole, whose formula proves timeless in some cases and tiring in others. By the end of record, it's clear that while the "vision" is there, the sound is a step or two away from being fully realized.

Let's remember though that this is a debut EP, and as such, it's clearly a cut above. With a sharp sense of self and a relatively defined sound, Foxtrax have achieved the best case of what can reasonably be expected: the songs are catchy, the music is fun, and there is more maturity here than a band who only found their stride months ago should have. As an introduction, The Cabin hints at great things to come if the band is willing to experiment; taken in of itself, if nothing else, it's impossible to deny it as something joyful and remarkable.

Track List:

  1. Go It Alone
  2. Underwater
  3. I'll Be Back For You
  4. Dark of the Night
  5. On The Run
The Cabin EP
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

70 / 100
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