Idlefox was founded in 2015 by Jeff Johnson with brothers David McInnis and Nathan McInnis. Nathan and Jeff had met in college previously and instantly clicked creatively. Years later they formed the psych rock duo, ‘Vixon’ with Johnson on drums and vocals and McInnis on guitar. Combined they came to form what is now known as Idlefox. Anyone who is fond of 90s shoegaze and today’s nu-gaze will almost certainly find a lot to love in Idlefox’s music. It’s easy to get sucked into their sweeping, panoramic guitar rock.
There are no real drastic sonic deviations from what we expect to hear on a shoegaze record. And what would be the point? Opening tracks “Keeper” and “Disaster” are instantly familiar, with the interplay of vocals and guitar, the woozy reverb on the latter and the sun-dazed psychedelic passages from the former.
Despite this very much sounding like what you’d expect Idlefox to sound like though, there are subtle tweaks; the drama of a patient bass build up, the grunge tinged crescendo of guitar noise in some sections which gives way to a warm, lilting shot of pastoral psych. The guitar sounds like rotating bandsaws at some points and crystalline raindrops at others. It’s organic, heartfelt music meant for fans as much as the musicians making it.
The EP “Keeper” is addictive; the sound gets into your bones and sends chills down your spine. The vocals often sound like liquid velvet leaving gorgeous sensations that are both raw and beautiful. The music feels new and so original with every song leaving you euphoric.
It’s like a blend of The Stone Roses and Sonic Youth in a state if sheer mental bliss. Idlefox never bombard the listener with walls of guitar bombast that threaten to drown out the rhythm section or the melodies, instead they engulf the listener through excellent arrangements, and production techniques no doubt, the drums hold their own and the bass is actually as memorable in moments as the guitar work.
Thanks to the bass playing, in fact, the songs never lose direction with all the jangly guitar theatrics creatively washing over the listener in waves of swirling sound.
Standout tracks are everywhere, so it is really a pointless exercise on my part to point them out. For what it’s worth, “Disaster” and “Happy Inside” are magnificent concoctions that will explode through your brain with every spin of this recording.
But seriously folks, there is not a weak track in the collection, and the depth of the songwriting is both emotionally and instrumentally rewarding. They’re just so powerfully in control of their sonority that it really knocks you up. Grab a hold of this, turn the volume full blast, and bathe yourself in the rich guitar-wash of Idlefox’s “Keeper”.
It is mature, intelligent, and features beautiful performances from all band members. Highly recommended!