Hailing from San Francisco, the California sun makes its mark all over the new album from Stone Foxes. Twelve Spells, for the most part, is a enjoyable ride down the west coast with unashamedly fun, knees up rock ‘n’ roll blasting on the stereo.
Joyful backing vocals,a touch of manic piano, handclaps and good old honks on the harmonica are all present and correct. ‘New York Talk’, a particular highlight, lifts the broken glass party atmosphere of Primal Scream’s ‘Rocks’ and ups the Stonseyness with howls and yelps about ‘Big City Girls’ who “shake it low”. The six-piece here throw everything together and it turns out great. It’s not re-inventing the wheel, but who cares when it sounds this much fun?
Those with a taste for more modern rock will also find a lot here to enjoy. The confident ‘This Town’ is a track Kings Of Leon would kill for these days, and the hip shaking ‘I Want To Be You’ recalls The Black Keys at their most glam. Despite this, there is plenty of dirt under The Stone Foxes’ fingernails, although they often threaten to properly freak out in some tracks, they somewhat frustratingly never get there.
Aside from Jagger and the boys, the influence of The Dead Weather looms large at points, most notably in the end of the world guitars of ‘It Ain’t Nothing.’ This, coupled with frequent use of roller coaster west coast keyboards, results in a record that still can find a level of freshness and surprise amongst a somewhat obvious set of influences.
While slow one ‘Cold Like A Killer’ fails to convince, buckling under the weight of its running time and one or two tracks that overstep the mark into rock cliche, there is still a ton of fun to be had with Twelve Spells. There is evidence of ambition in the album, and Stone Foxes find comfort in their unrelenting energy and serious ability to kick out the jams.
Twelve Spells is out now.