Monday, June 14th, 2021

Foxing – Go Down Together

n.b. not Fox, Foxes, Fleet Foxes, Foxygen, Peter Fox, Zack Fox, Jamie Foxx, Ray Foxx, Njena Reddd Foxxx, Bullet & Snowfox, or Ylvis


Aaron Bergstrom: Over a decade-long career, Foxing has built a reputation for sprawling, widescreen emo-tinged indie rock, culminating with 2017’s Nearer My God, an instant classic of the genre. When the band announced that the lead single (sorry, ritual) for their fourth album would be a seven-minute collaboration with Why? called “Speak With The Dead,” it was (a) awesome, and (b) completely on brand. “Go Down Together,” though, is something else entirely. It’s an attempt to channel all of that ambition, anxiety, and dread into a three minute pop song and, as the band has described it as a meditation on “financial ruin, hopelessness and love,” maybe it makes sense that they would seek inspiration in the global-financial-crash-core indie pop of 2008 and 2009 (Manners, for sure, but also In Ghost Colors, Oracular Spectacular, and even Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix) for their reimagining of “21′ Bonnie & Clyde.”

Oliver Maier: Foxing’s curious career trajectory has taken them from twinkly Midwest emo to anthems that sound designed for empty arenas. This could unkindly be called selling out (if it were like, the ’90s) but between 2018’s Nearer My God and their present batch of singles, the approach has been hit and miss. Part of me finds the folksy skip of “Go Down Together” off-putting, like a tidied-up Of Monsters and Men cut, but I’m not bouncing off it entirely. It might be that this sounds more meticulous than a lot of songs in its vein tend to — if nothing else, it’s better produced and arranged — or it might just be that Conor Murphy, as ever, sounds like he truly means every word.

Alfred Soto: The ghosts of Modest Mouse and Clink haunt this slow, sad stomper: the working out of trauma with the aid of a romantic partner whose presence may itself worsen the trauma. “It’s not enough that you’re wrestling with yourself/But your friends talk shit while you’re going through hell,” Conor Murphy sings in an electronically manipulated warble. Instead of building to one of their inexorable climaxes, “Go Down Together” stops at just over three minutes as if it saw no hope of continuing.  

Austin Nguyen: I actually didn’t mind the timbre of “Dance Monkey” that much, but Conor Murphy’s closed-eye moan-melisma (especially that second “we’ll go down there togetherrrrrrrr”) makes my ears feel voyeuristic, as if I were hearing him masturbate his voice over the opening riff of “Break The Rules” at half-speed to get aroused for the Actual Performance. The electronic squeals and other guitars can’t come in soon enough.

Samson Savill de Jong: When I think about this song, I like it a lot. I like the arrangement, I like the singer’s voice, I like the little electronic touches that peek through occasionally. The lyrics, especially, I think are outstanding, dealing with weighty topics without getting bogged down by them. But then I listen and I just don’t feel moved in the way all of the above would imply. I still recognise its quality intellectually, but I don’t feel compelled to tap my foot or sing along with the chorus.

Tim de Reuse: Dripping with sincerity, crisp vocal chops, plucked banjo, a whole lot of inspirational layering — and to what end? A vague, waffling positivity. It’s not that I’m opposed to anything feel-good, but when I’m feeling down, “We’ll go down together” is not really the most revitalizing message, and the intensity of these upbeat melodies have completely sterilized the song of any other kind of nuance. There is no meat on these bones.

Ian Mathers: Every generation gets the “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” they need.

Edward Okulicz: The verses on this show a great deal of care, painting a story of pledging one’s troth to someone in times of hardship, and you can’t be too down about that. But the chorus feels like an underwritten formality, lacking the evocative lyrics, not making the repetition work, being a little boring, and sounding like an unearned resolution. That’s not the worst crime, and it’s not the worst song. It’s just that it’s all very nice, but it’s also too nice.

Nortey Dowuona: The loping bass that opens up to flat drums — covered by Conor Murphy’s rasping voice, dusted by brittle, fluorescent synths and cartwheeling guitars in the distance — is so powerful it might distract you from the rote writing. Might.

Katherine St Asaph: Like an “indie rockers deciding to write a pop song, you know, as an experiment, a lark, just this once” starter pack: the polite synth percussion, the electronic antenna-twiddling, the frosted-glass processing on Conor’s voice. The result is something I’d convince myself is quite pleasant come December, as a space-filler in year-end lists.

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2 Responses to “Foxing – Go Down Together”

  1. Now I just have to live with the shame of getting the Nearer My God release year wrong. At least one of us has it right – thanks Oliver!

  2. it happens!! i have a weirdly vivid memory of listening to it for the first time even though it’s not my fave