Seattle’s Fox and the Law wear out their welcome way too soon on their latest album The Trouble With People. Right from the jump, the group’s inspirations are obvious. This is a band that has worshipped at the altar of 1970’s hard rock luminaries. While they can’t be faulted for being influenced by classic rock greatness, they can be taken to task for drawing from an abundant well of creativity without bringing anything new to the table.
There’s nothing wrong with the musicianship here. The band has been together since 2010 and play proficiently. Patrick Dougherty and Dan O’Neil make up an extremely competent, and at times exciting, rhythm section. However, while the lead guitar work is well rehearsed, it’s often predictable and at times sounds unnecessarily inhibited. Guy Keltner’s lead vocals are strong and emotive, but they’re treated with the same reverb-heavy effect on every song that unfairly masks the singer’s emotional range.
“Bad Motivator” features a sweet, fuzzed-out lead solo, but it’s ended before it has a chance to get off the ground. The Thin Lizzy-esque “Mercedes Benz” starts out promising, but instead of building to a soaring chorus, it dissolves into a banal sing-along that nobody wants to sing-along with. The Black Sabbath-influenced “The Trouble With Love” may be the album’s strongest song, but it arrives at the record’s halfway point where by this time the band is just rotating the tires.
Fox and the Law run out of inferential tricks after the first handful of songs. The mostly derivative songwriting and lackluster production make for a problematic album that anesthetizes the listener’s enthusiasm. Fox and the Law’s talents are obvious. Unfortunately, instead of upping the ante by injecting their own unique quirks and charms into their heavily classic rock-influenced songs, Fox and the Law play it safe, and end up with a ponderous LP that may have worked better as an EP.