Kindest of Thieves
Serial Mothers and Terminal Hunchbanks
That Chris Fox can write a mean tune, play a mean guitar, and has a very good voice is in no doubt.
That he has graced the local musical stages over the last few years in two great bands – Para Zali! and The Kindest of Thieves is also in no doubt.
So how should we feel if he strips it all down to solo acoustic guitar, and vox recorded in a seriously reverbed room – no drums and no bass?
Well – surprisingly enough – we should feel very satisfied.
In this context, although Fox readily admits the recording is “very lo-fi and stripped” (two ribbon microphones and an acoustic guitar) , the quality of the voice and the song-writing comes through strongly.
And maybe this album is Fox’s “Nebraska”, a career defining moment which shakes him away from the original sleazy blues feel of the first band, and the indie pop, rock n’ roll, and, rockabilly sensibilities of the second band. He sounds like he is redefining himself here – there’s a bit of growing up going on and the mature nature of the lyrics and feel of the songs perhaps signals a future direction.
Chris says of this set of songs…..” It seemed like all 7 songs really seemed to tie in to the same concepts which were Families, Loveless Relationships, and trying to fix relationships that are beyond saving. I’ve thought a lot about families, as at this point in my life I can’t ever imagine having children of my own, and this thought has unsettled me greatly. I’ve focussed on saving relationships because when I observe people in love, I always ask myself if they can really be as happy as they appear. This was the first time ever I’ve written songs that aren’t solely autobiographical.”
For my part I found this to be a very compelling set of tunes – I would maybe like to hear songs of this quality given a good recording session to bring out the nuances of the material – but maybe they would lose something if this was to happen – perhaps it’s the simplicity of the recording technique that brings out the best in his writing?
Probably best described as a mini-album – half way between an EP and a full album – it’s 21 minutes 30 seconds well spent.