The Fox Derby, Regular Dreams

The Fox Derby, Regular Dreams

There’s an intriguing British-ness to most of Regular Dreams, the debut full-length by The Fox Derby, a kind of cool, distant, almost New Wave-ish feel to the bulk of the songs that’s amplified by the intricate, often baroque arrangements. And yeah, a large part of stems from the fact that frontman Kenneth Pardue’s vocals make me think of Morrissey — not that his voice is much like Moz’s, but that Pardue uses the same detached, almost emotionless delivery for most of his lines.

To The Fox Derby’s credit, it works pretty ridiculously well. They start off “Stormy Weather” with “Tubular Bells”-esque cold, minimal piano and delicate strumming and steadily rev things up ’til the band’s playing an epic, sky-spanning track that’s turbulent and loud and foreboding, yet still utterly gorgeous. “Hold On The Brakes” — which is, up-front, one of the best songs on here — shifts things around a bit while retaining that Britpop vibe, incorporating choppy rhythms (that make me think of Damien Jurado, for some reason), somber vocals, nice horn touches, murky guitars, and overfuzzed, “block”-like synths in the break. The result comes off like The Killers if “Somebody Told Me” were about something actually important, like getting injured in a car wreck.

The baroque-ness is even more apparent on “Paintings,” where Pardue steps sideways and actually does sound like Moz for a minute or two, and the band starts to remind me of The Decemberists at least in terms of delivery (i.e., no overlong songs about military wives here, thankfully). There’s also a serious resemblance to Seattleites The Long Winters, and that’s no bad thing, in my book.

I’m not entirely sure what the hell happens on “Can’t You See,” but that’s where the Derby crew apparently say “fuck it” and throw out the five previous tracks and do something completely new. Dropping the Britpop thing entirely, The Fox Derby instead come up with a bouncy, shiny chunk of indie-pop, complete with driving bassline and almost-emo harmony vocals, that makes me think of Silver Scooter (or maybe matt pond PA) more than anything else. And believe it or not, it’s freaking great.

“Open Window” continues in the same vein, albeit more slowly and deliberately; the guitars jangle and chime at the start, then step their way through a central melody that sounds like it was taken straight out of “My Name Is Jonas” before ripping free and setting the speakers on fire for the break. Closer “Animals & Creatures” goes its own way entirely, with the band trembling and swaying their way through an honest-to-God Motown ballad — and not doing a half-bad job of it, either.

Now, on the bad end of things, I’ll admit that some of the lyrics are a little shaky, particularly on slower, more “romantic” songs like “Animals & Creatures” or “Paintings,” but hell, I’m willing to overlook it if I can listen to the rest of the disc with a big grin on my face. The Fox Derby may not be quite where they want to go yet, but I’m pretty blown away already.

[The Fox Derby is playing 10/22/10 at Dean’s Credit Clothing, along with The Selfless Season, Finnegan, & the Jeff Boortz Band.]
(self-released; The Fox Derby --
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Review by . Review posted Thursday, October 21st, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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4 Responses to “The Fox Derby, Regular Dreams

  1. SPACE CITY ROCK » WE LIKE THINGS 2010: Amazingness you need to hear & see from last year. on February 24th, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    […] The Fox Derby, Regular Dreams […]

  2. SPACE CITY ROCK » Tonight: Featherface (Reviewed!) + The Fox Derby + The Rocketboys + Holy Fiction + Misfits + Chase Hamblin + More on June 22nd, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    […] Ellypseas/The Fox Derby/Hiss & Hum @ Fitzgerald’s Got a hold of The Fox Derby‘s debut EP, Regular Dreams, not too long ago and was blown away by it, as well. The band plays seriously Brit-pop-influenced songs that sail serenely along, right into your brain, complete with intricate pieces that seem like they’re so delicate they’re about to fall apart the whole damn time (but thankfully, they never do). Like the above, this is seriously awesome stuff, particularly “Hold On The Brakes”. Full review over here. […]

  3. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Omotai + Fox Derby + Meatmen + The Energy + Hope Benefit + Jessica Lea Mayfield + More on June 23rd, 2011 at 12:08 am

    […] came out last year. Seriously Brit-sounding, emo-tinged indie-rock that works amazingly well. (See here for full details on the […]

  4. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: Omotai + Buildings + Fiskadoro + Art Institute + Mynabirds + Deep Time (MP3s!) + Mixed Media + More on July 27th, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    […] good things about The Fox Derby — they came out of nowhere to blow me down with 2010′s Regular Dreams, leaving me wondering what the hell happened to ‘em until earlier this year, when they came […]

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