The Foxglove Hunt - Stop Heartbeat
Record Label: Commonwall Media Records
Release Date: March 18, 2008
The electro-pop duo, The Foxglove Hunt are comprised of two buddies, Rob Withem (formerly of Fine China) and Ronnie Martin (of Joy Electric). They came together for the first time when Martin produced Fine China’s first album, When the World Sings (Tooth & Nail) in 2000, and then again in 2006 when Withem’s band, Fine China called it quits. What drew Withem and Martin together had to be their shared affinity for ‘80s new wave music by artists like The Pet Shop Boys and New Order, because its doused all over The Foxglove Hunt’s debut record, Stop Heartbeat. The music not only glistens with synth textured chambers but it also has dance-pop beats and contemporary electronic schemes relatable to Tahiti 80 and Love You Long Time. It’s music that appeals to dreamers and fans of contemporary dance.
With Martin handling the synthesizers and drum programming and Withem playing the electric guitar and singing lead vocals, Stop Heartbeat is a wonderful listening experience. The duo makes tracks that you will enjoy listening to while dealing with mundane tasks like waiting in traffic or doing the laundry, but best of all the album is good for listening to when you are laying on your bed just zoning out the rest of the world. The music does not demand anything from the listener but to ease up on feeling tense. The upbeat pull of “The Mayflower Compact” and “Business Casual” puts a flounce in your body rhythm, and the more serious voicing of “It’s Not Effective” compels you to enter its weighty depths. The duo’s remake of The Psychedelic Furs hit song “Love My Way” is so well done that it can pass for the original, while the emulsified tones in “A Concealed Weapon“ have a glossy veneer that’s anchored by modern sunny dance beats. The bubbly sensations loomed along “That’s Getting Personal” create dreamy synth suspensions, and the pearlescent luster of the synth chambers through “Don’t I Know the Way” are Hellogoodbye sweet.
Though Rob Withem and Ronnie Martin have been making music since the ‘90s, their music together feels so fresh that it seems as if there is nothing but positive vibrations scoring their songs. Some fans might be familiar with the work of Ronnie Martin’s brother, Jason Martin who is the frontman for the shoegaze outfit Starflyer 59, but what Ronnie Martin makes with Withem is music that shines like a strand of pearls and then perforating that shininess with dance beats which Starflyer 59 never generated. I thought The Foxglove Hunt made more than a retrospective of ‘80s new wave tunage. The two-man team makes synth glazed sorbets relevant for a modern age. The songs could be featured in a contemporary pop culture film without being stereotyped as ‘80s music. The album shows that time can move on but good music will always be good.
I was really surprised to see this reviewed in AltPress and again when I saw this review. I think this is a great album that is heavier on the electronic side, which is why I'm kind of surprised at the positive review. Most ppl just don't "get" synth heavy music. Anyway Ronnie Martin's actually still with Joy Electric, he just came out with a new record. I know the direction he's gone the past few records has been significantly obtuse and not def not easy listening but the man's a genius and has worked really hard since the early 90's, check him out.