The closing track on FOX Japan's recent disc, "Hell," recounts tales of pre-pubescent revelry in early-nineties West Virginia. A spot-on portrait—complete with references to Capri Sun and and Boyz II Men—"'91" is also an apt staging ground for the West Virginia-based group's guitar-driven pop rock, which has clear references to the golden age of mid-nineties alt rock.
A classically-trained composer, guitarist and vocalist Charlie Wilmoth leaves his experimental hat on the proverbial shelf in FOX Japan. The band's catchy, off-kilter tunes have echoes of Superchunk and Archers of Loaf, while lyrical content takes the form of explicit, straightforward narratives. Wilmoth explores everything from failed marriages to conservative punditry with a blunt, declarative voice. Rounded out by brothers Sam (bass) and Pete (drums) with Andrew Slater on guitar, "Hell" is a mixed bag of plaintive story-songs and impassioned dissonance held together by an underlying knack for melody and infectious riffs.
You can purchase Hell for $8 on CD Baby or directly from the band's PayPal. Catch FOX Japan live in the coming weeks, including stops at Brooklyn's Trash Bar on 27 December 2008 and the Red & the Black on 2 January 2009 in Washington DC.