Performing under the name, “Foxhound,” Chris Kasper and Kiley Ryan compose bonfire lullabies that seep under your skin, quietly catching every vein. Refined and distilled, their delicate melodies are as comforting and hypnotizing as a barbiturate. Although as gentle and soothing as their arrangements are, Foxhound’s sleepy harmonies aren’t for lack of fire. Utilizing acoustic/electric guitar, banjo, accordion, piano, violin, drums and cello, the two musicians are solely responsible for a literal canyon of Arcadian sound, as rich and vast as the mountain scenes their music brings to mind. Most striking is the level of space present in their songs, allowing them to bridge sunny melodies with a sobering stillness. When found in-between Ryan’s easy, ethereal vocals and Kasper’s own steady delivery, that same stillness is almost eerie. Although it’s just when you feel as though you’ve slipped through the cracks that their music is at it’s most charming, calming and serene.
“Selling things I really don’t need, giving away those pieces of me.”
Released in 2013, the Philadelphia band’s debut opens with the Kasper-sung “Sea Walls.” Immediately, the group’s warm harmonies breathe life into stirring, contemplative verse, a balance that is present in nearly all of their compositions. So much so, that Foxhound’s rustic folk songs take on an eloquence and composure that is almost tangible. And through portraying the systematic push and pull of everyday life, “Sea Walls,” earnestly captures the crushing responsibilities that can threaten an artist’s inclination towards spontaneity and wanderlust, even though the song’s final refrain finds Kasper confessing that, “the back roads call so I’m calling them back.” And by indicating a desire to take a road less traveled and honor creativity over practicality, Foxhound has sought out the back roads in more ways than one; leading the listener through a breathtaking intersection of blues, folk and old school pop balladry.
“Whiskey and wine, your favorite ways to cloud nine
But the floor always falls when you’re in the clouds.”
Perhaps most affecting is the Ryan-sung, “So Far.” It’s stripped down, sparse and simple, allowing Kasper and Ryan to revel in a stillness and restraint that is bare bones and mesmerizing. Capturing a subtly and nuance, her voice is markedly weightless, drifting from your speakers and into the air so beautifully that they exist as one, unable to be pried and separated from the other. When she sings, “You’re so close to divine, if you weren’t so confined,” it’s with melancholy and sorrow, elevated by the faintest hint of admonishment. Accompanied by nothing but Kasper’s electric guitar and her own violin, Ryan addresses her subject with an equal amount of impatience and sympathy. When she admits, “There’s a tear in your silhouette, I saw it once now I never forget,” her voice practically hangs in the air, displaying an ease and ability that helps make the song- and the album- something to never forget.
Check out Foxhound’s album here on bandcamp!
Article by: Caitlin Phillips