Some albums just make your heart grow bigger. It happens with music of any kind but there’s something about post-rock which forces the vascular chambers even wider; good post-rock makes you feel like you could wrap your hands around the world. This is how Foxhole‘s Well Kept Thing makes me feel. It has this sense of largesse to it, of art which sets in its sight the world itself, with its hardships, its distance, its scale, and its humanity. It appears first in the music itself; the first track, “After the Walk”, is as big as they come, large, hopeful guitar lines immediately setting the tone for the album. All of this only to be followed by the excellent single “Count Basie and His Daughter’s Shoes”, which was also accompanied by a fantastic video (in general, the videos leading up to this release have been marvelous). This one is harsher; still big but not as bright, more conniving and twisting around its big band arrangements and its unsettling horns. This kind of unsettling vibe continues through the album, repeating through weird backing vocals, off-kilter drums and odd arrangements.
The larger than life feeling comes to you secondly through the band’s own story; Foxhole are no new comers. First founded in 2000, the band have undergone numerous transitions, both as a band and as people. Their lives took them to all corners of their country and to all walks of life. Amidst all of this, they still managed to release a few beloved albums, beloved that is by those who were around for the first wave of intimate, clever post-rock that flourished in the shade of the more well known bands (or by those who have a kind of misplaced nostalgia for that era and style, like me). These albums, particularly We the Wintering Tree, already spoke of a band very aware of and secure in their own sound.
But Well Kept Thing, releasing a full twelve years after their previous release, is something new in scale even for Foxhole. It’s an album that’s very much its own thing; sure, you’ll find tidbits of many other bands in it (like yndi halda or Red Sparrowes) but there’s also this undeniable attention to detail, texture and tone that’s not quite like anything else in the genre, not back when Foxhole were setting out and not now when they’v arrived…somewhere? I’d love to think it’s home. It certainly feels like it, a complicated, weary but content type of home, the good, real kind of rest.
Regardless of my imaginings of the band’s metaphysical state, you can pre-order Well Kept Thing right here ahead of its release on September the 28th and stream it in full right below. You’d do well to do both those things; this one is for the ages.