The self titled debut album from Wexford band Ger Fox Sailing is not what you first expect. Initially the listener might think they’re all grunge and inward looking, but a closer inspection reveals a quality album filled not with angst, but contemplation.
Ger Fox Sailing comprises Johnny Fox on vocals and guitars, Richie Mason on bass, guitarist Derren Dempsey, and Marc “Harvey” Hillis playing drums. The band has risen from the ashes of other Wexford bands Bengie, Laminate, The River Fane, and WOLFF, and all four members have well and truly cut their teeth and honed their skills before coming together as Ger Fox Sailing.
The eight track eponymous album is relatively guitar heavy, but nonetheless there’s that quality to the sound that you really only hear in Irish bands. It’s not possible to put your finger on exactly what it is, but it’s there. It might have something to do with music being in the blood of every Irish person. On the other hand, it might be our imagination.
Nah. It’s there.
The first two tracks, ‘Killing Time’, and ‘What It Is’, are possibly the most grungey of all the songs, but it’s not long before you get into the guts of the album and realise it’s far more than that. ‘Wood From The Trees’ has the exact quality we were mentioning in the previous paragraph: it’s got a sound that – dare we say it – can *only* be produced in Ireland, the innate understanding of close harmonies in alliance with the instrumentation. Alright we’re probably exaggerating here, but it just feels that way. In any case, this is our favourite track on the entire album, and we feel it could definitely do with some airplay.
Track 4, ‘All That Will Protect’ is drum heavy but the harmonies are still there, and there’s a certain psych/6os quality about the song, which brilliantly illustrates the talents and musical prowess of the band.
The spectacularly spooky yet mellow ‘Nowhere Without You’ feels like a companion piece to ‘Wood From The Trees’, if only because we can almost feel the forest in the music. The sparse lyrics (more harmonies! Please *never* dispense with your beautiful harmonies!!) and reverb further echo this feeling.
Track 6, ‘Give Over’ opens with a really lovely reverby bass-line, and is a nice follow-on from ‘Nowhere Without You’, as the sparse echo-y vocals continue in this track. The lyrics are angsty without becoming angry, with plenty of room for contemplation and introspection.
‘2017’ with its finger plucking guitar beginning and soft vocals feels like an homage to Donovan, like a down-tempo of his classic, ‘Sunshine Superman’. It’s quite interesting that it’s entitled ‘2017’; the song could easily find its place in any decade from the late 1960s onwards.
Final track, ‘Best Friend’ starts with an almost jazz feel, but swiftly moves into QOTSA territory, all thrashing riffs and screams. It’s a brilliant end to a brilliant album.
‘Ger Fox Sailing’ was released via Bandcamp on August 21, with a bonus of ‘The Only Place That I Belong’ as a gratis track with each album purchase.
You can see Ger Fox Sailing perform live at The Foggie Dew, Wexford, on August 25, and at Sin É on September 30.