Friday, 20 July 2007

Live review – Foxes and Anna Log, The Wheatsheaf, Oxford

Taking a break from listening to underwhelming rap mixtapes while hunched over a laptop, GMS heads out into the “live arena” to find out what the kids are up to these days. What with their myspace and all.

Watch out - she'll twee you

First up is Anna Log, who probably wasn’t born when the posters on the wall of the Wheatsheaf were put up (anybody remember Straw?). She sports a spotty Lily Allen-style dress and angel wings, and delivers stage banter which is equal parts self-deprecation and in-jokery. Worrying signs, especially as her website encourages me to “think of banana milk and penny whistles”, which is something I refuse to do. But Ms. Log’s songs are, on the whole, much more confident and accomplished than the twee presentation would suggest. She’s at her best on her own, at the piano, straddling the line between torch songs and rolling vaudeville in a manner that recalls Rufus Wainwright’s first album. The lyrics tend to avoid the worst excesses of mopy teens and piano ladies, while the voice is an impressive mix of Linda Thompson’s folky melancholia, Sandy Denny’s inflections, and Carole King’s controlled melodies. The addition of a full band for half the set dulls the effect somewhat, smothering the complexities of the arrangements with relentlessly-spry Housemartins-style jangly indie-pop. But there are enough original ideas, interesting influences and indie-folk skillz to make her well worth seeking out. With that in mind, plenty of "audio" to be found here.

After that, it’s hard to say a lot more about the Foxes! than that they do a commendable job of sounding like the Breeders. This is unfair, as their noise is a very entertaining one: scuffling drums, fuzzed out guitar, driving bass grooves and off-kilter power-pop melodies. Plus they have a singing drummer, which means indie rock points. My gigging accomplice declares herself “not keen on the bassist’s behaviour”, which is worth pointing out, as he’s brandishing a headless bass and wearing Kanye West sunglasses while deliberately failing to play 'In-a-gadda-da-vida' on the keyboard. But as with Anna Log, the music is more than enough to compensate. On record, they’re more fey, but also more varied. Ch-ch-ch-eck em out, I’d say.

Foxes! - 'Art Girl' (warning: video may induce seizures)


1 comment:

chris said...

apparently foxes are moving house, last oxford gig for a while on wednesday