Foyer Red’s ebullient pop single “Pickles” contains a richness of ideas and concepts both thematic and musical if you take the time to give its nearly four minutes a listen. It starts off with a spare but intricate twin guitar line and accented bass line before the vocals come in with lines seemingly sketching thoughts and observations on modern living and its attendant anxieties. But also imagery suggesting how in clinging to certain relationships and associations from those romantic, social, civic, artistic can hold us back from growth until we’re willing to let it go. When the two vocals trade off lines we are treated to a literary examination of these social phenomena as we feel them and not in some theoretical or ideological way but in how they impact us daily though at the time we can ignore how things are decaying and failing to serve our life or the function these things had for us or for anyone. The lines “torpid/standstill/what grew/shriveled/pillars of sand/are no match for tempered winds/facing the north side/you don’t get enough light” and then “huffing/slow burn/building/friction/save what/you can/watch the walls as they give” could really refer to anything but is so poignant in capturing what it’s like to be around when you’re the lifer in any situation (job, music scene, band, DIY space, school, relationship etc.) and maybe you should salvage what you care about and move on. You don’t need to carry the pressure of preserving some ideal that isn’t there anymore. It’s not a song about giving up or being cynical about what matters, it seems to be about self-care and with the aim of actually getting on with what’s important once again and maybe building something somewhere else with other people or at least not clinging past the time when all the juice and life is gone. Musically it has resonance with classic C86 bands but more contemporaneously with groups like Palm, LVL UP and Lithics with a bit of math rock and twee and the clear, yet unpretentious, artistic ambition of not just the lyrics but the dazzling array of sounds and song dynamics that are irresistible from beginning to end. Listen to “Pickles” on YouTube and follow Foyer Red at the links below.
Foyer Red’s “Flipper” is a song so resonant with today it takes more than one listen to take in its full impact though one listen is enough to be drawn into its bizarro pop charm. The vocals start out sing-song-y and contemplative like something you’d expect out of a good bedroom pop song but in the background the array of sounds morphs into a mutated pastiche of vacillating dynamics and rhythms and Dada-esque use of texture, drone and jazz-like folk-inflected chord progressions. It frankly shouldn’t work except it is loosely reminiscent of “My Iron Lung” by Radiohead at times before detonating that impression gently mid-song. Elana Riordan sounds paradoxically present and disengaged from the tale of tangling with hunger and turning into a “ravenous creature left to roam the earth” and later “rusted into this warzone” alone with no bones while still growing and ready to “eat your bones.” This while swirling distorted sounds carry a somehow pleasantly disorienting unconventional melody. It’s rare for a band to combine what seems like a commentary on the burgeoning spirit of widespread nihilism that is one of the only sane reactions to the state of the world where the powers that be and authority figures are detached from the lives and interests of most people, even themselves, and you’re forced to get by as best you can and sometimes that means what Prince once sang about when the hell machine of modern late stage capitalism tries to bring you down, “Go crazy” and “punch a higher floor” by feeding that angst and frustration into unexpected and creative acts of resistance including writing a strange, colorful and creative art pop song like this. Listen to “Flipper” on YouTube and follow Foyer Red on Bandcamp.