Lure the Fox
I realize starting a review with the words “so much minimal slow-core, so quickly” might be the most problematic introductory sentence to a review I’ve ever written, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Following closely on the heels of Corrina Repp’s superb The Absent and The Distant, I now have to contend with the near equal greatness of Haley Bonar’s Lure the Fox. Not surprisingly, Repp and Bonar’s back stories are similar, both are predominantly solo artists who have had helping hands from slow-core stalwarts. For Repp, it was Red House Painters’ Mark Kozelek; for Bonar, it’s Low’s Alan Sparhawk. Although he only appears on one track and recorded two of the disc’s eleven songs, Sparhawk’s presence can be heard throughout the album. The stark emptiness borne of warm and crisply-captured acoustic guitar chords, as on “Hawaii,” are nothing short of haunting, like drowning peacefully in liquid darkness. On the more fleshed-out tracks like the half-time stomp of “Daisy Girls” and the bouncy and flirtatious “Give It Up,” Bonar and her backing band craft an austere and sturdy framework for her compositions to spread out upon without stepping over the bounds of moderation and detracting from the contemplative lyrics and whispered, empathic vocals.
A vast improvement over the flashing brilliance of …the Size of Planets, this album establishes Bonar’s prowess as not only a songwriter and arranger, but as one of the few remaining and reliable pilots of slow-core’s quiet reflection.
Afternoon Records: www.afternoonrecords.com