An Album Review of Saint Molly by Fox Academy
By Cassandra Cloutier
The scene is set. The dimly lit bedroom illuminated by faint fairy lights, the quiet city street lamp outside hardly visible through the fog of the night, the warming smell of rain still fresh through the ajar window. A candle close to flickering out on a bedside table, unable to provide any help. But this scene isn’t real. It’s the physical manifestation of what Fox Academy’s new album Saint Molly sounds like. Saint Molly is the band’s fifth release and second full length album brought to the ears of 87,000 monthly Spotify listeners on April 14th of this year. Band members Christian Novelli and Michael Todd Berland stayed very consistent with this latest release to their previous works and simply built off their clearly defined Seattle meets lo-fi meets bedroom indie sound.
Fox Academy are very much known for their interesting stylistic choices and this album was no different. Throughout the record there is loads of sampling from ‘60s era movies, and in the middle of the song “Doctors Visit” there is a long song break interjected with audio from a home movie of a child’s birthday party. There’s also purposeful static twinkling through all the songs, and a slight echo that gives each song an airy but faintly haunting undertone. To add to this lo-fi mood, all the vocals from Novelli and Berland are low, faint, and with little inflection which makes listening to this album in bed with headphones feel like a calming embrace of auditory bliss.
The fourteen track album only has a runtime of thirty-three minutes,
but contains the song, “Thanksgiving,” which starts off with a soft sample of a holiday choir which fades out only to be replaced by what can only be described as subtle, accordion circus sounds that continue throughout the song. Next on the track list is “5555,” which has a hint of a vapor wave intro but progresses into a very simple electric instrumental with Christian and Michael’s depressing yet comforting vocals on top. “Cop Light Glow” is the third song on the album and is arguably the perfect song for driving in the rain with it’s slow vocals and hints of tambourine peppered though it. “Cranberry Curtain” brings the mood back up slightly with its distinct twinkle sound that creates a visual of a quiet night sky filled with stars. The next five songs - “Saint,” “Plum Colored Mouth,” “Beauty Salon,” and “Cherry Coke” all keep a consistent sound flowing throughout of the slightly eerie, yet airy vocals and echo-filled instrumentals only to be broken up by the next tune, “Fast Food Heaven,” which is must faster paced and electronic influenced.
However, the album then goes back to its previously established lo-fi, quiet indie sound with the songs “Doctors Visit,” “Molly,” “Bathtub Water,” “Tell Your Family Hi from Me,” and finishing off the track list with “Dresser.” Even though each song does have some slight variation, to someone unfamiliar with the band’s previous work, they may come across as sounding all the same, but it’s a warm familiarity of gentle voices, distorted guitars, and an occasional xylophone ring those who know the duo have come to expect and deeply cherish.
Overall, while this album was not creatively shocking to someone already familiar with their style, it did deliver the exact sound fans turn to the band to hear while still showing enough progression from their earlier works and would make a perfect starting point for someone looking to dive deeper into Fox Academy’s discography.