Salt and Honey
Edmonton-native band King of Foxes’s sound is highly polished, using colourful lyrics and richly textured musical arrangements. Fronted by songwriter Olivia Street, the band’s creativity both honours and reinvigorates the indie-rock genre.
Yet with its new album Salt and Honey, the band has taken on more of a pop sound. This is by no means a bad thing, as the band still has the same fierce energy and passion resonating through its music. Compared to 2016’s Golden Armour, the melodies of Salt and Honey are gentler and catchier. It’s the kind of album that’s perfect for playing in the car or at a social gathering with friends.
The first track of the record, “Backsliders,” quickly got stuck in my head because of its joyful melody and gripping lyrics about succumbing to one’s desires. From there, the energy rises and falls, but the songs are never boring.
The swinging “All I Need” goes in all sorts of exciting directions, with Street’s tone alternating between aggressive and gentle in an ever-changing rhythm.
It is followed by “Laundry List,” a beautiful ballad with a powerful chorus. Here, the echoing sound of the electric guitar and the consistent thud of the drums accompanies Street’s lyrics about a laundry list of things to clean in one’s life.
This then transitions seamlessly into the entr’acte, “Late Horizon,” a mesmerizing minute-long instrumental track. The resonating strings and distorted electric guitar notes seem to pass by like trees on the side of a highway on which we, the listeners, are driving.
After this, the upbeat “Cartagena” brings the energy back up with a pleasant melody. With its use of soft keyboard accompaniment and breezy electric guitar, it brought images of summer and sunsets to my mind.
The more aggressive track “Open Book” makes heavy use of percussion and electric guitar, but still retains Street’s poetic lyrics and vibrant voice.
Finally, “Room with a View” ends things on a bittersweet note, as its poetic lyrics evoke thoughts and feelings of loneliness, loss, and missed opportunities. It’s a moving way to conclude the record. All in all, Salt and Honey is exactly what its name implies: tangy and sweet. It’s got both spunk and tenderness, and it combines the two quite beautifully. It’s the kind of music you can put in the background and easily enjoy, but also listen to attentively to pick up on nuance. King of Foxes is giving Edmonton a good name with this well-conceived yet accessible record.