Edited from a newspaper article (November 2009)
Following on from the recent theme of great bands with baffling names, Jesus H Foxx are certainly a band who merit attention. Having recently signed to Song, by Toad records in Edinburgh, the post punk outfit can claim with confidence, in the face of a global downturn, that their stock is very much on the rise.
Playing as part of The Bowery’s Oxjam contribution this Friday (23rd), the Foxx will be joined by Occasional Flickers, local indie survivors Y’All is Fantasy Island and the prodigiously talented and completely unavoidable Meursault in what promises to be one of the highlights of the festival.
As well as a mouth-watering line-up, the venue itself is a huge part of the appeal for bands. “We’re really passionate about that place,” says Foxx frontman Michael Hunter. “I think it’s far and away the best venue in the city. It has a really singular and perfectly realised aesthetic, it’s truly independent, and it’s just a wonderful place to hang out.
The last Oxjam fundraiser the band played was a March gig at The Bowery, in conjunction with Ten Tracks. Hunter describes this gig as pivotal to the band’s current success, as it was the first show played in their current seven-piece format and is largely credited as the gig which brought them to the attention of Song, by Toad’s Matthew Young, who had already snapped up Meursault.
“Working with Matthew has been a mixture of fun, opportunity and gin headaches, all of which have been of great help to us. He’s managing to get our stuff out to a much wider audience, which we are very thankful for”, adds Hunter.
What though of the name Jesus H Foxx? Hunter explains all: “‘Jesus fucking fox’ is a little known expression for surprise or incomprehension I think I heard in Boston. The ‘H’ comes from the Blues Brothers film. The second X in “Foxx” was a typo. An aesthetically pleasing typo”.
So there. Glad we solved that one for you. Be baffled no longer.
Having signed to the Edinburgh-based label, there was a degree of frustration that it took until April 2012 for the debut album to finally emerge after what had been a long and drawn out process in the search for perfection. The delay had led to many initial fans (including yours truly) thinking that they had actually broken up in the wake of the release of the inital and hugely enjoyable six-track EP, Matter, from which this is taken:-
The 2012 album, Endless Knocking, was met with some indifference – one crucial review in a local, highly-regarded magazine which had previously championed the band said:-
The band’s perfectionism is admirable, but the final offering perhaps inevitably feels laboured. A revisit of some early demos from circa their genesis in 2007 reminded us of the qualities early Jesus H. Foxx possessed that Endless Knocking lacks – chiefly punch, individuality and vitality. Pale production, curiously dialled-down lead vocals and a vacillating attitude to style – from the clipped funk guitars of ‘Permanent Defeat’ to ‘Twins’ sleepy indie-folk-isms – are the self-conscious hallmarks of a band who have agonised to near death what should have come naturally.
And with that, Jesus H. Foxx were no more.