Fox Medicine -"Procedures Mystiques"
Fox Medicine is a duo which I was lucky enough to hear about when I first started up this blog a few months back. I was told about this record being in the pipeline and now I'm ecstatic about getting to hear it. From start to finish, "Procedures Mystiques" battered me over the head with thumping drums, sick riffs and vocals you'd never expect to hear but still work so well. This is without doubt, floating around my personal top 10 lists for (both) favourite record and favourite band.
Band: Fox Medicine
Location: Portland, OR
Neezy Dynamite - Guitar / Vocals
Vanny Keeps - Drums / Percussion
Record: "Procedures Mystiques"
Review: "Procedures Mystiques" kicks things off with “Comfort Pony”. A great opening track, providing a steady and solid groove. I could easily imagine King Buzzo (Melvins) pulling this riff, deep from this creative mind. Complimented with crunching guitars and solid drumming, the track moves steadily but still manages to create a sense of anxiousness. For those who’ve never heard of Fox Medicine before, you may be expecting something more of the “norm”, (as far as heavy bands go) after hearing the opening riff but it’s not until the introduction of Neezy’s vocals you begin to realise this duo is on their own level when it comes to uniqueness. Just imagine an alternate universe version of The Melvins but with the twins from The Shining delivering the lead vocals. Sinister and evil masked with cuteness. It uneasy and creates a vintage horror-vibe, which fits perfectly with the instrumentation.
Once "Comfort Pony" begins to build and build, the track breaks down with Vazzy showing off his talent on the kit which could have been pulled from a High on Fire record. This is a nice change of pace, keeping things interesting as the song moves along, but also demonstrating: as great as it sounds to throw down some crazy drum patterns, it’s much more effective when it’s used sparingly and Vazzy does a great job of this! Holding down the track with a simple-but-effective groove to allow the vocals to take the centre-stage, but then knowing when in the song to unleash fury on his kit.
The track cycles back to the main riff with another verse, builds up once more, and the track plays out with more franticness from the bubblegum doom duo. Short and sweet, but a solid opening track, leaving the listener wanting more.
Track 2: "Ice Cream Man", amps up the creepiness. Disjointed chords and riffs paired with the signature vocals from Neezy. Especially when the chorus kicks in, with the mishmash of staccato beats transitioning into a “looser” feel, it’s almost unsettling to listen to.
Onto track 3: "Strawberry Tree", things just get weirder and weirder. I feel like this is going to be expected with each song. Just when I think Fox Medicine have injected all of their craziness, nope… They have more to offer! And I welcome it with open arms! The track kicks off more up-tempo than the previous couple of tracks. Opening up with a scratchy/punk-influenced riff and is quickly followed with more solid drumming, the song motors through until all of a sudden, the track has a meltdown into insanity and unstableness. I guess if you’re going to name a track “Strawberry Tree”, it kinda needs to be as strange of a song as possible. This is that, and it works very well. Once again, out of nowhere, the track turns back on its head and picks up the tempo for a brief spell and back to insanity as the song slows down again. “Strawberry Tree” throws the listener around throughout the track with its unpredictable schizophrenia.
And as mentioned previously, just when I thought things couldn’t get any crazier, we roll into the next track: “Cotton Candy Planets”. (This record is filled with great track names!) Neezy and Vanny refuse to allow you a moment to catch your breath, as the track explodes out of the gates. Frantic and disjointed, I’d love to see this track live - simply for my amusement of watching the crowd attempt to headbang for the opening moments. It does have its moments where it takes pity on you and allows you to headbang sanely along to some more straightforward/punk style rhythm, but then changes its mind and once again throws you for a loop.
“Orion’s Pointy Belt” (these damn song titles are great), bursts to life with a stabbing rhythm and crunching riff. You can really hear more of the Melvins' influence shining through on this track, more so than the previous. It has that janky/unstable vibe, as if something bad is about to unfold at any moment. The chorus mixes things up, flowing between a hard rock swing and into more staccato riffs to penetrate the listener. After the second chorus, the track takes a more sinister turn – slowing things down and almost morphing into a 90’s influenced drone band before finishing off with the main riff. For a track just over 3 minutes long, Fox Medicine manage to pack a lot within the timeframe, keeping the listener on their toes.
After all that franticness, the listener is treated to somewhat of a breather with a more “relaxed” track. I use the term “relaxed” loosely, because if the previous tracks are anything to go by, you know something is going to throw you for a loop. While more mellow than its predecessors, “Red Velvet Dreams”, swings onto the scene and continues the anxiousness and sinister vibe of the record, while offering something fresh again.
“Chester Milktoast” hooks you in with a satisfying groove, which causes you to lose control of your mobility as you find yourself nodding your head, uncontrollably. The track swaggers through from start to finish, with an infectious guitar riff. Just listening to this track makes you reach for your inner badass.
Penultimate track, “Sympathy for the Prey” begins with a more stoner/psychedelic vibe before unleashing a darkness which has yet to be unveiled on this record. Sure, there are dark and unsettling moments scattered throughout, but there’s something about this track when the chorus kicks in that really takes it up a notch of creepiness. Towards the final moments of the track, the tempo picks up. As if it’s the final few moments of life being drained from the prey, as the track comes to an abrupt end.
Final track, “Space Kitty” is quite simply an exclamation mark and stamp-of-approval of the craziness this record has to offer. An interesting end to the record, but I can’t say at this point I’m not surprised. Procedure Mystiques has been an insane rollercoaster and now there’s icing on the cake of insanity. Great riffs throughout which continuously catch you off-guard. A great conclusion to a great record! Meow, meow!
Verdict: Nowadays, there seems to be an influx with the number of 2-piece bands popping up. Some great, some amazing, some not so good. Fox Medicine is definitely on the more interesting side. If you love crunching riffs, thunderous drumming and pure craziness, then you seriously need this album in your life. I’m completely sold. I love this record and it’ll be a long, long time before I ever feel any loss of interest.
At the helm of the recording was Toshi Kasai which I believe really shines through in a great way. Fox Medicine does have a strong Melvins influence which is worn on their sleeve and the production does remind me of "(A) Senile Animal", "The Bride Screamed Murder", etc but the bubblegum-doom-duo, [Fox Medicine] have more than enough of their own input to make them truly unique. Their individuality stands head and shoulders above many heavy bands, both past and present. A great example of making music which you want to make for yourself and not making music for someone else. It’s only a matter of time before Fox Medicine start to become a key name within the heavy music scene!
I loved this record from start to finish. Never a dull moment. Each song had enough to satisfy my listening needs while still making me crave more. “Procedures Mystiques” is the noisy sugar rush I've been craving for so long!
FFO: Melvins, Sonic Youth, Captain Beefheart
"Procedures Mystiques" is out on the 8th of November, 2019.
You can also check out the official music video for "Comfort Pony" at: