True Foxes - Howl



This versatile duo combines the singing, songwriting, and instrumental skills of Cornish cousins Amie Parsons (lead vocals, guitar, banjo, keyboards) and Chloe Payne (harmonies, bass guitar). For the past few years, the pair have toured incessantly, mainly across the South-west, but occasionally further afield, building their following the old-fashioned way. On this debut full-length album, they make bright folk-country-pop filled with exquisite harmonies, jangly lines, and earnest lyrics. Swaying between the dichotomy of fairytale romance and crippling pain brought on by disillusioned dreams, you can hear the pair’s youthful innocent enthusiasm chiming through the fuller band arrangements, incorporating additional fiddle, electric guitar and drums … the pure energy is quite infectious. Folk-oriented music like this can sound light and ethereal. Between the banjo and fiddle, the skipping rhythms, and the singers, who often work in a high register, songs can feel mystical, like watching wondrous creatures frolic in an open field when they think no one is watching, preaching sounds of joy. Although True Foxes have always brought a great degree of depth and intelligence to their music, the last year or so has prodded them to let more of an Americana vibe show through. Though they have a unique, harmonious charm, they aren’t afraid to belt out a hard-hitting chorus alongside their often tender, heartfelt anthems.

Amie is a remarkable young musician. She has a voice that is both sweet as an angel and gutsy when required. Her songwriting is clever and passionate, inviting curious listeners in, adding texture and complexity where they may not have found it themselves. On Other Girl they turn in a captivating country-folk song, as Amie shows herself to be a canny songwriter with a delightful ambiguity that haunts this intricate relationship song. How Are You Now, a quiet ballad with a solid melody in which Amie’s vocals are pure and clear, accompanied by softly played banjo and acoustic guitar as the song builds to a restrained climax. Singing as one, there are awe-inspiring depths and heights to their sound on Wanderer. This has strains of the modern fairytale about it—enchanting, alluring and beguiling flourishes, textures, and ambient touches that recur throughout the track.

Toe-tapping rhythmic beats and driving fiddle kicks in on lead track Devil’s Calling, a gothic folk tale, which seems to exist in the middle ground between music for children and music for their parents—or anybody, for that matter. Contemporary ballad, Leave The Light On, has a simple but nicely progressive melody. A finely plucked banjo leads the charge on Higher, with an infectious chorus that just won’t let go. They head down a bluegrass trail with Follow The Leader, while 17, with its1960s girl group harmonies, is a tour de force of exuberance and youth, in a bopping jubilant tune that wraps its chorus around the listener’s brain cells. The closing Howl, with its haunting fiddle accompaniment, hints at the songwriter Amie Parsons will eventually grow into. This impressive debut album finds True Foxes doing far more than howl, by creating ten songs that already sound like standards.

February 2023