The best part of a super group is hearing talented musicians working in a comfortable space. A diligent review of Foxhall Stacks is obliged to mention Jawbox, Government Issue, Velocity Girl and Minor Threat, with whom this band shares members. I hear similarities to many of these groups because of the unmistakable players participating. The powerpop formula on this record is reminiscent of the D.C. scene it was born of, and that seems to be the record’s strong suit. Jawbox’s Marshall amplifier / Les Paul guitar leads are present, as are the clean doubled vocals and Velocity Girl’s shiny tambourines. The drumming compliments the poppy song structures deftly, leading them at times. However, Foxhall Stacks sound nothing like Minor Threat. Which begs the question: was this band called “Minor Foxhole Stacks” initially? Despite that strange word choice on the band’s social media page, “The Coming Collapse” is a solid power pop record for road tripping or hanging out with pals at the shore. Jawbox’s “cigarette commercial” like hooks and Brian Baker’s slick punk styling (i.e. Bad Religion / Dag Nasty) are both present on this over produced long player. Apparently it took three years to write hooks like “everything that matters, is totally shattered.” The songs four minute average length does little to assist their overall power. Lyrically the group takes advantage of common word play too often. This is the weakest point in an otherwise SUPER coherent pop project. The most poignant thing I can say about any super group is that they likely sleep in comfortable beds and perhaps haven’t failed enough to be interesting twice. I sincerely hope Foxhall Stacks prove me wrong on their second album, in 2023.
"The Reckoning" is meant to be their flag ship store, but it’s feels like a Sears at a dying mall. It’s poppy melody, muted guitars and a jaunty stop starts are familiarly empty. "Turntable Exiles" is the J.C. Penny’s in the same mall. This song makes mention of the discotheque and has irrelevant sound effects plastered over pedal heavy indie rock. Barbershop backing vocals hoot while added percussion shimmer from the shelves like American Eagle Outfitter cotton flannels. Mentioning turntables and Marshall stacks is clique and feels commercially safe. "Law Of Averages" is the best song on The Coming Collapse. A distinct poly rhythm contrasts successfully with driving vocals and a sticky chorus. The distorted guitar lead makes the whole song connect well. Worried starts with acoustic guitars and progresses into an indie song that talks about the song writing process and taking pills. These seem like egotistical and uncouth things to sing about in 2019. "Big Pharma" is gross AF (as fuck) and absolutely no one sees these songwriters as a tortured victims. "The Old Me" is too much like the other songs and starts to show the cracks in the heavily employed formula. This is the song that the road crew would potentially dread sitting though for a 30th time on tour. "Failure" starts with an effected drum part much like Led Zeppelin / The Beastie Boys and might make a good sample for someone someday. The open guitar playing makes the day feel longer, and being shouted at about failure is counterintuitive for PMA types. "Take Control" is vocally dominated & tambourine heavy. The terms “new sensation” & “right now” appear often enough to break the spell. "Top Of The Pops" mentions Coca Cola and Saturday night in a cringe worthy piece of radio-ready goop. "Do It Yesterday" is the second best track here. Slightly more sincere verses, make the the poppy sweetness more palatable. "Rough Sailors" has whiney vocals about Tokyo as a far off object (clique) and an equally lazy hook “Everything that matters, is totally shattered.”