The Stone Foxes: Small Fires Review

In recent years, with the advent of bands like The White Stripes or The Black Keys, blues has received a little bit of a facelift.  Younger bands have been adding their own slant to our founding fathers’ music, a necessary move in order for any genre to survive.  Think of it as evolution via natural selection for music.  The Stone Foxes are a part of this new creature – classic guitar/bass/drums arrangements, melodies bred with indie rock, and an overall sound with a rock star attitude, all-the-while honing their sound and embracing new blues culture.  The Stone Foxes have a sound that demands attention.  It’s loud, forward, and attractive.

The opening track to The Stone Foxes’ third LP, Small Fires, is perhaps the best introduction to the band.  “Everybody Knows” opens with some guitar play and a harmonica for a brief nostalgic moment before launching into a Black Keys influenced track with Poe-inspired lyrics.  Spence Koehler sounds like he’s channeling Dan Auerbach on this song, as well as for most of the record, using echo and mild distortion in a way that sounds like, at times, he’s singing through a megaphone.  “Ulysses Jones” follows, playing with a little more of a traditional sound while staying fresh.  “Battles, Blades & Bones” has a decidedly old-school sound to it.  Koehler’s voice echoes on top of a tinny-sounding piano and reverb-drenched guitar.  “Talk to Louise” is very reminiscent of The Rolling Stones.

The Stone Foxes are clearly a band with a diverse array of influences, and on Small Fires they tap into these influences while remaining original at the core.  Imagining The Black Keys crossed with a more traditional blues sound could sum up Small Fires.  The release isn’t exactly avant-garde, but then again it isn’t exactly intended to be.  Small Fires is about delivering some good melodies and solid guitar-work in a fresh form.  From track one, Koehler and company will keep you hooked with their tight arrangements and melodic presentation.  A tip of the hat to all involved with Small Fires.

The Review: 9/10

 Can’t Miss Tracks

– Everybody Knows
– Ulysses Jones
– Battles, Blades & Bones
– Talk to Louise
– Small Fires
– So Much Better

The Big Hit

 – Everybody Knows

Review by Richard MacDougall

Buy the album: Amazon | iTunes

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