It's hard enough to write songs that truly have atmosphere, much less maintain such a thing over the course of a whole record, however Foxwarren have achieved this with 'Has Been Defeated,' a style seldom debut record.
'Retreated' opens with a gorgeous Piano chord-progression, lacquered with languid slide guitar and the faint plucking of a banjo, over it all the soft wind-chime-esque sound of glass clinking. With the wrong treatment it might be cheesy, but coupled with a vocal steeped in tender regret it steers clear of schmaltz.
‘Leave But Stay The Same’ ups the tempo a fraction, changing the tone and adding an electric guitar to the mix in a way almost akin to The Shins’ quirky pop sound. ‘Car Wreck’ continues in the same vein but throughout the musical upturn the lyrical content remains melancholic, the resulting dichotomy unsettling. The same is true of ‘Your Small Town’ which, by skating heartbreakingly close to levity, manages to be ever more effective with it’s simple “If you’re gonna leave, then leave me be” refrain.
After gentle ambient interlude ‘Robins Sing’, ‘A Way Out’ and ‘Generation’ dive back into introspection before last song proper ‘Defeated’ sums 'Has Been Defeated' up as well as it is possible to do; a neat and elegant, even beautiful song that, despite it’s jaunty exterior hides a darker heart.
Even though it runs short of 25 minutes, 'Has Ben Defeated' has an impact greater than its footprint suggests. It’s a record drenched in nostalgia and suffused with sense deep-set sense of regretful longing, tugging away at the strings binding together its particular brand of melancholic folk pop. Though it sometimes skates close to indulgent melodrama, its honesty and sense of battered worldliness carries it though. Fans of Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver and The Snake The Cross The Crown will love this.
'Has Been Defeated' by Foxwarren is available now on Bandcamp.