Singer/songwriter Andy Shauf co-founded Foxwarren with three friends from college in the late 2000s, around the time he began releasing home-recorded solo material; the group stayed intact through hiatuses for his solo career over the next ten years. Following his second album, 2016's The Party, Foxwarren was finally able to complete its recording debut. Sharing a certain soft-footed, pastoral indie rock sensibility with their frontman's music, Foxwarren is very much a project for fans of Shauf's solo work. The album's languid opener, "To Be," establishes a repeated chord progression on acoustic guitar before adding spare drums, piano, fluttery looped samples, and pitch-bending guitar to gently trippy effect. Reinforced by Shauf's warm, preoccupied delivery, the dreamy quality permeates the album, which includes tracks with titles like "Lost in a Dream," "Fall Into a Dream," and "In Another Life." An exception may be the brisker "Everything Apart," though its electronic drums and unsettling synth timbres evoke a tenser dream state more than wakefulness, as do impressionistic lyrics such as the chorus' "Keep it all away/Like falling pieces." Its Crosby, Stills & Nash-type vocal harmonies also anchor it to the organic world. Through the sweet acoustic pop of "I'll Be Alright," with its brushes and muffled tom-toms, and the jammy, instrumental second half of "Fall Into a Dream," which devolves into distortion, Foxwarren remains both off-kilter and irresistibly comforting, like the feeling of the pull of sleep. When final track "Give It a Chance" adds the steady pulse of crickets to the mix, it almost seems unfair.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson