Fox Medicine – Blue Bubblegum
Release Date: 21/05/2021
Running Time: 36:17
Review by Steven Hooke
Curious duo Fox Medicine proudly plant their flag in the musical landscape with the label of “bubblegum doom”, an unlikely pairing of vocalist Neezy Dynamite Hubba-Bubba-sweet voice with psychedelic doom metal.
A cutesy voice backdropped by heavy riffs is not an uncommon phenomenon in rock and metal these days, with the likes of Issues, Rina Sawayama, Poppy and Babymetal irritating (mostly male) metal elitists the world over, but none have used an “outsider” voice quite in the same vein as Fox Medicine.
“Blue Bubblegum” is without question a doom metal record, one that invokes a brighter sound compared to previous outing “Procedures Mystiques”, and the tone, range, inflections, and effects of Neezy’s vocals add such a hypnotic psychosis to the album that betters what most of their contemporaries can do with a full line-up doused in reverb. The bouncing delivery on the chorus of opener ‘Billy The Beetle’ almost creates a dissociative effect due to the jaunty nature of her vocals battling the hazy riffs in the mix. The frenetic chorus of ‘Bunny Boy’ does more to affect one’s concept of up and down more than any spicy tongue sticker could manage, and ‘Bubblegum Witch’ almost cruelly calls to spirituality and paranoia for a “you done fucked with the wrong boho witch” experience.
Fox Medicine and indeed “Blue Bubblegum” are not one-person shows of course. Drummer and percussionist Vanny Keeps is just as adept at bringing that doom haze to proceedings in his own unique little way, whilst also keeping it proper-metal when required. His work on ‘Pain Dance’, ‘Kittens’ and the previously-mentioned ‘Bubblegum Witch’ does what all good doom drummers should do, bring an imposing stomp to the track that rumbles the core of the listener. But his work on ‘Kiss The Cactus’, ‘Billy The Beetle’ and ‘Mermaid Club’ where at times, it feels like the beat of the drums follow their own rhythm, adds to the disconnect and miasma of the record, pulling the listener in two directions. There’s even a tasteful bit of experimentation in the closing moments of the album with ‘Kiss The Cactus’ opening with a cheeky bit of cowbell and ‘Queen Moon’ adding a layer of glockenspiel-esque twinkle that could really sweeten the overall Fox Medicine sound further.
“Blue Bubblegum” has “Roadburn highlight” written all over it. Psychedelic warfare of hypnotic vocals, dynamic drums, a strong riff game that peaks into both punk and prog at times, all combined with the ear-catching siren of Neezy. A wonderfully warming album that explores an interesting niche but still doesn’t tread into caricature-territory.
‘Billy The Beetle’ (Official Video)
01. Billy The Beetle
02. Mermaid Club
03. Bubblegum Witch
05. Pain Dance
06. Bunny Boy
07. Kiss The Cactus
08. Queen Moon
Neezy Dynamite – Lead Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keyboards.
Vanny Keeps – Drums, Percussion
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