Album Review: Foxing’s Second Album – Dealer

It was always going to be difficult for Foxing to follow up on their incredible debut album The Albatross, which was a fascinating breath of fresh air to the music scene and a beautiful addition to the umbrella genre of emo. Dealer is an album that needs to be experienced in one whole sitting – it is not an easy listen, especially for those who get emotional during songs.


The opening track of Dealer is the spine tingling Weave, which recounts the relentless touring of The Albatross and how, after cultivating a dedicated fan base, the band has moved on to new pastures with this album. The repeated line “how have I been stuck here for so long?” highly emphasises the restriction the band felt after making a living with the same songs for so long.


Following Weave we get The Magdalene, which acts almost as a musical half-way-point between The Albatross and Dealer. There are definite similarities between the musical styles, but enough change to keep things exciting and showcasing the development of the band. I feel that this song is the opening track to the remainder of the album and that Weave was a statement, almost like a bookend, on the period of their life that was The Albatross. The Magdalene has the wonderful range of vocals that Conor Murphy possesses, as well as the beautifully layered guitars. Describing the loss of ones virginity after growing up in a strict Catholic fashion, Murphy explains how sex felt more like sin than it ever did about love or passion.


Night Channels is a very calm, relaxing piano-led song that steadily builds up with the line “future love, don’t fall apart” then the clean guitar layers and the slow rhythm of the drums adds a lot of texture to the song. The simple bass line that supplements the piano is wonderfully done by Josh Coll. The simplicity of the bass in this song is a stark contrast for Coll who has had incredible musical moments such as the complex bass line in Inuit from The Albatross. The song ends with a harder drum line, a build up in guitars and a pounding bass.


Laundered brings back the brass that helped make The Albatross stand out from all the others. Another slow song that drops in and out across the four minutes or so, but with that stylistic theme of deeply layered guitars and vocals. It is by this point in the album you fully understand where Foxing have taken this album. The style hasn’t changed as much as it did with The Albatross, and the theme of the album is very clear.


Indica is possibly the most harrowing song on the album – it recounts Coll’s time in Afghanistan. This song simply explains the horrors of war. The children’s screams. The broken man. His fear of being hated by the parents of those very children. This song is heart-breaking.


Winding Cloth is an instrumental that perfectly follows Indica, leaving us to wallow in the lyrics of the previous song. This is one of the best post-rock instrumentals in the last few years. The skill of the song writing involved on this track – especially following Indica – is a testament to the talent of everyone in Foxing.


Redwoods is a track that utilises everything Foxing have done in the previous tracks on this album. The layered instruments, the depth of the music, the raw lyrics and vocals, and the dramatic build up. This may be the best track on the album to highlight everything Foxing are talented at.


Glass Coughs and Eiffel feel like the same song, expanded over two different tracks. I absolutely adore the vocals in Glass Coughs – that melody just hits me in all the right ways. Again, the music is very quintessential of Foxing and what they are known for. There are no songs on this album that make you want to get up and move – this is an album that makes you want to slowly nod your head at the most. You want to sit back, absorb the lyrics and embrace the music. Glass Coughs and Eiffel both speak about religion and sex; two themes that constantly crop up across this album. They both seem to reiterate the sinful, frowned upon sections of sexual encounters or the reiteration of the guilt felt in The Magdalene.


Coda is another instrumental track, and although it does not feel as connected to the previous song as Winding Cloth did, it is a superb stand-alone song. Once again, this track holds the musical talent of the Foxing crew on a pedestal for the world to see.


The final track of this incredible album is Three On A Match. This track is possibly the most heartfelt apology you can ever experience from a song. Murphy repeats his apology over and over and as the acoustic guitar plays behind him and the music slowly disappears drawing an end to Dealer.


Dealer is one of the best albums I have heard all year. It is raw, beautiful, and there is not a single track that feels like filler. Foxing have condensed their sound, followed up to an impressive debut, and have clearly paved the way for their future. The one downside is that I did miss the anger of the vocals that we experienced in Rory from The Albatross – but that would not have been suitable for this album.


Ultimately I implore everyone to check out this album and I challenge you to find a band that has nailed an album this refreshing, this unique and this special in the last 12 months.


I’m giving this album 5 sad songs out of 5.

The Dinner Date

The Dinner Date

I took you out to dinner.

We had been flirting and dating for a month or so when I took you to that Italian place – the one by the clock tower.

I don’t remember what we ate. I think I had seafood pasta, you had something else.

The reason why I don’t remember the meal is that we spent far too long laughing at the murals, the photos on the walls, making each other giggle, and making each other do that little smile. You know the one. That smile that says ‘I love you’ before we had even muttered those words to each other.

I paid the bill and left a tip, despite the fact the service wasn’t great. I remember thinking to myself that you wouldn’t have cared if I left no tip. I just wanted to look classy and show off to you as we dated.

We walked back to my place holding hands. It wasn’t cold out. You were in a dress that felt like satin and I was in a shirt with the collar unbuttoned.

We fell onto my bed laughing and giggling. I made you a cup of tea.

Tea was the cornerstone of our relationship – and it still is.

We sipped and talked. You told me about your life, I joked and mocked mine.

Your nose wrinkled and you snorted when you laughed too hard.

I played with your fingers and kissed your soft lips.

We wrapped our arms around each other.

I kissed your neck.

Bit your lip.

Slid the straps off your shoulders.

You clawed my back.

Pulled my hair.

I kissed my way down your body.

The orgasms were dessert.

I held you.

“Do you want another tea?” I asked.

The Wonder Years: No Closer To Heaven – Album Review

The Wonder Years: No Closer To Heaven

It was always going to be difficult to follow up to ‘The Greatest Generation’, which is widely regarded as one of the best emo/poppunk albums ever made. The issues many bands have when writing a new album are either departing too far from their fanbase, or not changing enough and underwhelming their fans. However, The Wonder Years have mastered following up to a colossus of an album with ‘No Closer To Heaven’.

Following the ‘Trilogy’ of albums that came before it, ‘No Closer To Heaven’ holds yet another distinct theme. If ‘The Upsides’ demonstrates the internal struggle one can have, ‘Suburbia’ is clearly the external fights, whilst ‘The Greatest Generation’ defeats these trials and strives for the personal best that can be achieved; then ‘No Closer To Heaven’ demonstrates the thoughts and feelings that come after acceptance of yourself. What about everything that happens outside of your own little shell? Death, inequality, classism, racism, the social injustice that surrounds everything you do.

The choral build up of ‘Brothers &’ and then the sudden detachment into the single clean guitar of ‘Cardinals’, before building up again is spine-tingling. The innocent voices repeating “we’re no saviours if we can’t save our brothers” is heart wrenching and a clear start to what will follow and climax by the end of the record. Musically, there is the clear core of the poppunk history that has fuelled The Wonder Years. But there’s a definite change, albeit subtle, from ‘The Greatest Generation’. The biggest change is that the music feels more complex – there are far fewer stereotypical drumbeats one associates with poppunk, less in the way of simple chord progressions, and a definite move towards the emo side of music. A great example of this is ‘A Song For Patsy Cline’, especially the latter half of the song. A more downtrodden, heavier bass and drum line contrasts beautifully with the melody of guitars and Soupy’s vocals.

As the album progresses the usual angst-ridden, angry, and heart-felt lyrics rip right through you. There is not a single let-down with regards to the lyrics. A personal favourite is ‘A Song For Patsy Cline’ discussing the failure of something that can be fixed and save yourself – “my airbag light’s been on for weeks / And I can feel it mock me. / It’s bittersweet, like laughter through crooked teeth.”

Following this, we have the most poppunk song on the album, ‘I Don’t Like Who I Was Then’. The lyrics simply follow on from the title of the song – the end of one personality and the development of another. This is also the one song on the album that has the clearest connections to the past records musically and lyrically. It’s a refreshing reminder after the darkness and emotions of the previous tracks of where it all began.

‘Cigarettes & Saints’ is one of the best developments in The Wonder Years music. The organ, the soft drums, the simple bass, the sudden introduction of clean guitar licks, and the raw lyrics culminate in one of the best modern poppunk songs I think I have ever heard. The drum march that builds up the song before unleashing the music we all know and love from The Wonder Years is simply fantastic.

This is also explored in ‘Stained Glass Ceiling’, a song that slams the inequality of the American Dream. This is one of the harshest songs The Wonder Years have made. The screamed vocals of guest singer Jason Aalon Butler emphasise the anger of the song directed at the powers that be. And once again, the musical prowess of The Wonder Years perfectly matches the sentiments of the song to build into an anthem for the disenfranchised.

The final chapter of this impressive album is the titular song, ‘No Closer To Heaven’ which acts as a succinct closer to the rest of the album. The slow acoustic tune is different to the rest of the album with simple keys over the top. The song describes how no matter how hard someone tries to change the world for the better, the task seems impossible and something will always come up that limits his or her ability.

Ultimately, this album is near enough to perfect that I genuinely believe that it rivals the masterpiece that was ‘The Greatest Generation’. I’m not sure how it will hold up in six months time, but for the last month, this album has been on par with the complexity, the musical talent, and exciting change from a previous album that is needed to keep a band moving forward. Not a single song on the album leaves you feeling underwhelmed or disappointed. There is not a single moment where you feel the band threw in a filler track. The Wonder Years have created a perfect blend of emo and poppunk and are proudly wearing the crown and flying the flag high.

I’m giving this album five pizza slices out of five.

Back Home

Back Home


One of the best things about the summer

Is that all items man-made are outclassed,

Purely by the raw beauty of nature.

I’ll leave my mark and remain in the past.


There’s a certain place I like to go to –

When I’m back home. It is a brilliant

Place where only nature shines through to you,

And all you can hear are the fresh birds chant.


With the hills up high and the fields down low,

The refreshing breeze that keeps all at bay,

Whilst the sun dazzles as you watch the show

Of green trees dancing in every way.





There it’ll be just you and me,

Memories carved on the old oak tree.

Lie on our backs and stare at the sky,

Watch the evening stars just drift on by.

How Are You?

How Are You?

I hear the rain fall against the window

As I pause with apprehension from calling.

I need you to know how I feel now.

I am not going to apologise, I have nothing to apologise for.

And it would not help anyway.

Feel free to apologise. I am not here to forgive or forget.

It is meaningless in this context.

I am just here to let you know, and see what I missed; if I missed anything.


I have a new life now. I’ve moved on and escaped the town.

Escaped the lies, rumours and deceit.

But I lost the friends. It’s lonely out here.

How are you? Have you improved? Have you learnt the lessons?

I hope so.

I am hesitant to call. I am scared of your response.

I am scared of the doors it may open. I am scared of the doors it may close.

Everything happens for a reason, and it has almost been a year.

Things will never be as they were.


I often think of you and your new life. How is it?

I want you to know that I never uttered a word to others of the truth.

And I never will. It was between us. It is still between us.

But that doesn’t alter the fact that I miss you.

Those times we shared. So many memories.

Only memories.

I held you through the tough times, and laughed you through the good.

All of the scenarios and scenes are now running through my mind…


Do you do the same? Do you think of what we’ve missed?

Do you remember all those moments shared? That ‘Ode’ we wrote?

Things became bad between us. They should not have been so bad.

You were my best friend.


I miss you.

How are you?